Rates and Correlates of Seeking Mental Health Services Among Cambodian Refugees

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 96, no. 10, Oct. 2006, p. 1829-1835

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Grant N. Marshall, Sarah Megan Berthold, Terry L. Schell, Marc N. Elliott, Chi-Ah Chun, Katrin Hambarsoomian

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OBJECTIVES: The authors assessed the rates and correlates of seeking mental health services among a probability sample of Cambodian refugees who needed such services. METHODS: Interviewers conducted face-to-face interviews with a representative sample drawn from the largest US community of Cambodian refugees. The analytic sample included 339 persons who met past 12-month criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression disorder, or alcohol use disorder. Respondents described contact with service providers for psychological problems during the preceding 12 months. The authors examined bivariate and multivariate predictors of seeking services. RESULTS: Respondents reported high rates of contact with both medical care providers (70%) and mental health care providers (46%). Seeking services from both types of providers was associated with lack of English-speaking proficiency, unemployment, 3 or fewer years of preimmigration education, and being retired or disabled. Women, individuals with health insurance, and persons receiving government assistance also were more likely to seek services. CONCLUSIONS: Cambodian refugees with mental health problems had high rates of seeking service for psychological problems during the preceding 12 months. Research is needed to examine the effectiveness of services received by Cambodian refugees.

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