International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 54, Supplement 1, pp 16–22

Rural-urban variations in psychological distress: findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2007

  • Satvinder S. Dhingra
  • Tara W. Strine
  • James B. Holt
  • Joyce T. Berry
  • Ali H. Mokdad
Original article

DOI: 10.1007/s00038-009-0002-5

Cite this article as:
Dhingra, S.S., Strine, T.W., Holt, J.B. et al. Int J Public Health (2009) 54(Suppl 1): 16. doi:10.1007/s00038-009-0002-5

Abstract.

Objectives:

To describe rural and urban differences in the prevalence and correlates of psychological distress in the United States.

Methods:

We analyzed 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 62,913 respondents residing in 94 counties in 24 states, and District of Columbia that administered the Kessler-6 (K6) psychological distress questionnaire and met the BRFSS weighting criterion. Using the Rural Urban Classification Codes (RUCC), 94 counties fell into four groups (two metropolitan and two non-metropolitan) out of the nine-part RUCC scheme; these levels were collapsed into two distinct categories of urban and rural.

Results:

Unadjusted estimates indicate that urban county residents have a 22 % higher likelihood of having either MPD or SPD than rural residence (odds ratio [OR]: 1.22, 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 1.09–1.36). This association was slightly attenuated after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics 17 % higher (OR: 1.17, 95 % CI: 1.04–1.31).

Conclusion:

This is the first study to our knowledge reporting rural and urban prevalence of psychological distress derived from population-based, county-level data for 94 counties in the United States.

Keywords:

Mental healthPsychological distressRural healthUrban healthRural-urban continuum codesBehavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satvinder S. Dhingra
    • 1
  • Tara W. Strine
    • 1
  • James B. Holt
    • 1
  • Joyce T. Berry
    • 2
  • Ali H. Mokdad
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Adult and Community HealthNational Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationWashingtonUSA