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Gender Differences in the Use of Mental Health-Related Services: A Re-Examination

Philip J. Leaf and Martha Livingston Bruce
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Jun., 1987), pp. 171-183
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137130
Page Count: 13
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Gender Differences in the Use of Mental Health-Related Services: A Re-Examination
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Abstract

In this study we re-examine the issue of gender differences in the use of mental health services by asking (1) whether gender differences in use depend upon the specific services studied; and (2) whether statistical models which are aligned closely to help-seeking theory can explain such differences better than previously used approaches. Our analyses are drawn from two waves of data collected from a representative sample of 3,921 respondents of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study at the Yale University site. Results indicate that although women are more likely than men to consult a physician in the general medical sector about mental health-related problems, there are no gender differences in use of the mental health specialty sector. The relationship between gender and use of the general medical sector for mental health problems also varies by psychiatric status and by attitudes toward mental health services. In the presence of a psychiatric disorder determined by the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, the likelihood of using services is highest for women with positive attitudes and for men with negative attitudes.

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