Original Paper

The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 531-547

First online:

Psychological Distress as a Barrier to Preventive Healthcare Among U.S. Women

  • Whitney P. WittAffiliated withDepartment of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Email author 
  • , Robert KahnAffiliated withCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • , Lisa FortunaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry S7-410, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • , Jonathan WinickoffAffiliated withMassGeneral Hospital for Children, Harvard University School of Medicine
  • , Karen KuhlthauAffiliated withMassGeneral Hospital for Children, Harvard University School of Medicine
  • , Paul A. PirragliaAffiliated withProvidence VA Medical Center and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • , Timothy FerrisAffiliated withMassGeneral Hospital for Children, Harvard University School of Medicine

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Abstract

To examine the role of psychological distress in accessing routine periodic health examinations among U.S. women of reproductive age, we examined data on 9,166 women aged 18–49 years from the 1998 National Health Interview Survey. In multivariate regression, women with psychological distress were more likely than non-distressed women to report delayed routine care, not having insurance, and lack of a usual source of care. Among women without a usual source of care, distressed women were more than six and one-half times more likely to delay care compared with non-distressed women. Women with psychological distress report delays in receiving routine care. Editors’ Strategic Implications: The findings suggest that, for distressed women in particular, continuity of care is vital in accessing routine care and obtaining timely and effective preventive services.

Keywords

Psychological distress Usual source of care Preventive healthcare Women’s mental health