Health Status and the Use of Outpatient Mental Health Services

Published in: American Psychologist, v. 39, no. 10, Oct. 1984, p. 1090-1100

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1984

by John E. Ware, Willard G. Manning, Naihua Duan, Kenneth B. Wells, Joseph P. Newhouse

Read More

Access further information on this document at content.apa.org

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Using data from the Rand Corporation's Health Insurance Study, the authors have linked mental health status (self-reported psychological distress and psychological well-being) to the subsequent use outpatient mental health services delivered by formally trained mental health specialists and general medical providers. Both the probability of any mental health care and the intensity of treatment provided by mental health specialists increase significantly with increases in psychological distress. These effects are independent of insurance plan, physical health, and sociodemographic variables. Results support the validity of self-report, mental health surveys and suggest that outpatient mental health services tend to be delivered rationally, although the great majority of those who are most psychologically distressed receive no mental health treatment even when care is free.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.