Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Children’s Emergency Mental Health After Economic Downturns

Original Article


African American children—more than other race/ethnicities—rely on emergency psychiatric care. One hypothesized cause of this overrepresentation involves heightened sensitivity to economic downturns. We test whether the African American/white difference in psychiatric emergency visits increases in months when the regional economy contracts. We applied time-series methods to California Medicaid claims (1999–2008; N = 7.1 million visits). One month following mass layoffs, African American youths use more emergency mental health services than do non-Hispanic whites. Economic downturns may provoke or uncover mental disorder especially among African American youth who by and large do not participate in the labor force.


EPSDT African-American Psychiatric emergencies Medicaid Mass layoffs 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Public Health & Department of Planning, Policy, and DesignUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Planning, Policy, and DesignUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  3. 3.Division of Health Policy and ManagementSchool of Public Health, University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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