Introduction: Mental health is an important
component of overall health. Mental illness is a leading cause of morbidity and
mortality in the US and is associated with chronic diseases such as heart
disease, diabetes, and arthritis. In the US, most people with mental health
issues or disorders remain untreated. Epidemiological studies have identified
rural residents as being at greater risk for health disparities; as a result,
rural residents are a vulnerable population in terms of mental health and
mental health care. Research has demonstrated that perceived stigma can be a
significant barrier to rural residents seeking mental health care. This study
examined the research question: What are the characteristics of US rural adults
with mental health concerns who perceived
stigma? Methods: 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
(BRFSS) data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate techniques to
answer the research question. 2007 BRFSS data were used because in that year
non-institutionalized US adults in 37 states and territories were queried about
their attitudes toward mental illness. BRFSS is a random digit telephone survey
that uses a complex multi-stage sampling approach and subsequently a weighting
factor is calculated for application to the data in order to ensure that
they are representative of the US population based on the most recent census
data. Only weighted data
were analyzed. Results: Logistic regression analysis revealed that rural
adults reporting mental health concerns who perceived stigma regarding mental
health were more likely to be unemployed seeking work or not working and not
seeking work, military veterans, or to have deferred medical care because of
cost. They were also more likely to not have a health care provider and to
rarely or never feel supported emotionally.
Conclusions: Support systems may render people with mental health issues
less vulnerable to perceiving stigma, thus assisting with removing stigma as a
barrier to care. Pharmacist may play a role as support in communities, especially where access to health care providers may be limited.
Cite this paper
Pederson, K. , Lutfiyya, M. , Palombi, L. , Simmons, D. , Steenerson, D. , Hohman, K. and Huot, K. (2013) Cross-sectional population based study ascertaining the characteristics of US rural adults with mental health concerns who perceived a stigma regarding mental health issues. Health
, 695-702. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.54092
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