Rurality and Mental Health Treatment

  • Emily J. Hauenstein
  • Stephen PettersonEmail author
  • Virginia Rovnyak
  • Elizabeth Merwin
  • Barbara Heise
  • Douglas Wagner
Original Paper


Diversity within rural areas renders rural–urban comparisons difficult. The association of mental health treatment rates with levels of rurality is investigated here using Rural–Urban Continuum Codes. Data from the 1996–1999 panels of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey are aggregated to provide annual treatment rates for respondents reporting mental health problems. Data show that residents of the most rural areas receive less mental health treatment than those residing in metropolitan areas. The adjusted odds of receiving any mental health treatment are 47% higher for metropolitan residents than for those living in the most rural settings, and the adjusted odds for receiving specialized mental health treatment are 72% higher. Findings suggest rural community size and adjacency to metropolitan areas influence treatment rates.


Mental health Health services Rurality Health disparities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily J. Hauenstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen Petterson
    • 3
    Email author
  • Virginia Rovnyak
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Merwin
    • 1
    • 4
  • Barbara Heise
    • 5
  • Douglas Wagner
    • 6
  1. 1.University of Virginia School of NursingCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research CenterCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Robert Graham CenterAmerican Academy of Family PhysiciansWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Rural Health Care Research CenterCharlottesvilleUSA
  5. 5.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Public Health AdministrationUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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