The journal of mental health administration

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 347-360

First online:

Women and outpatient mental health services: Use by black, Hispanic, and white women in a national insured population

  • Deborah K. PadgettAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, New York University
  • , Cathleen PatrickAffiliated withthe National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental HealthDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • , Barbara J. BurnsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center
  • , Herbert J. SchlesingerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology at the New School for Social Research

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Factors affecting ethnic differences in women’s use of outpatient mental health services were analyzed to determine whether lower use by black and Hispanic women occurred when socioeconomic and other factors are controlled. Employing the Andersen and Newman model of health use, insurance claims of 1.2 million federal employees insured by Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 1983 were analyzed to identify significant predictors of use. Results revealed that black and Hispanic women had lower probabilities and amounts of use when compared to white women even after controlling for a number of variables. Further research is needed to examine cultural and gender-related factors that may underlie ethnic differences; attitudinal factors and service system barriers are also implicated. Such findings have policy implications in the current climate of health care reform for which efforts are needed to increase access to care for ethnic minority women and other underserved populations.