International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 54, Supplement 1, pp 23–29

Relationships between serious psychological distress and the use of health services in the United States: findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

  • William S. Pearson
  • Satvinder S. Dhingra
  • Tara W. Strine
  • Yia Wun Liang
  • Joyce T. Berry
  • Ali H. Mokdad
Original article

DOI: 10.1007/s00038-009-0003-4

Cite this article as:
Pearson, W.S., Dhingra, S.S., Strine, T.W. et al. Int J Public Health (2009) 54(Suppl 1): 23. doi:10.1007/s00038-009-0003-4

Abstract

Objective:

To determine rates of access to and use of health services among adults with Serious Psychological Distress (SPD).

Methods:

Adults ≥ 18 years in the 2007 BRFSS were stratified based on the presence of SPD, assessed by scores ≥ 13 using the Kessler-6 tool (N = 199,209). Access to and use of general and mental health services were compared for those with scores < 13 and those ≥ 13 using Chi-square analyses and logistic regression models.

Results:

Less than half of all adults with SPD indicated receiving mental health treatment. Persons < 65 years and having SPD were significantly less likely to have access to any type of health insurance (0.59 O.R., 0.51–0.68 95% C.I.) compared to persons <65 years without SPD.

Conclusions:

These results present a situation which could potentially lead to increased use of emergency departments for possible non-emergent services. Less than half of adults with SPD were receiving mental health treatment and most, regardless of their SPD score, were receiving routine health checkups; presenting an opportunity to identify and treat many mental health issues in the primary care setting.

Keywords:

Serious psychological distressAccess to careUtilization of servicesMental healthHealth servicesDepression

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Pearson
    • 1
  • Satvinder S. Dhingra
    • 1
  • Tara W. Strine
    • 1
  • Yia Wun Liang
    • 2
  • Joyce T. Berry
    • 3
  • Ali H. Mokdad
    • 4
  1. 1.Behavioral Surveillance Branch, Division of Adult and Community HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Healthcare AdministrationCentral Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Health Metrics and EvaluationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA