, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 347-360

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

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Abstract

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.