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Articles   |    
Perceived Mental Health Treatment Need and Substance Use Correlates Among Young Adults
Michael J. Mason, Ph.D.; Lori Keyser-Marcus, Ph.D.; Daniel Snipes, M.S.; Eric Benotsch, Ph.D.; Bela Sood, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200159
View Author and Article Information

Dr. Mason, Dr. Keyser-Marcus, and Dr. Sood are affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Mr. Snipes and Dr. Benotsch are with the Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 515 North Tenth St., Richmond, VA 23298 (e-mail: mjmason@vcu.edu).

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Objectives  The relationship between perceived need for mental health treatment, reasons for not receiving care, substance use, and race and gender among young adults was examined to identify barriers to mental health care.

Methods  Data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 14,718 adults ages 18 to 23 were used. Logistic regression analysis compared substance use among young adults with perceived mental health treatment need grouped by race and gender.

Results  A total of 7.6% of young adults wanted mental health treatment but did not receive care. Persons with perceived treatment need were more likely than recipients of treatment to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, meet criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence, and engage in binge drinking, after analyses controlled for income and health insurance. White males with perceived need were 3.2 times more likely to smoke and to meet criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence and were 2.6 times more likely to engage in binge drinking. Hispanic males were 2.9 times more likely to smoke and meet criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence. White females were 1.7 times more likely than other subgroups to perceive need for mental health care.

Conclusions  Young adults with perceived mental health treatment need are at high risk of substance abuse and dependence. Results support targeting knowledge and attitudes surrounding mental health services by race-ethnicity and gender to improve willingness to receive care.

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Table 1Characteristics and substance use among 14,718 adults ages 18 to 23, by racial-ethnic and gender subgroupa
Table Footer Note

a Data, in percentages, are from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Percentages do not add to 100 because data about participants from Native American, Pacific Islander, multiple race, and Asian racial-ethnic subgroups are excluded.

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Table 2Reasons for not receiving treatment among 1,114 adults with mental health treatment need, by racial-ethnic and gender subgroupa
Table Footer Note

a Values are in percentages.

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Table 3Odds of perceived mental health treatment need among 14,718 adults ages 18 to 23a
Table Footer Note

a Data for Native American, Pacific Islander, multiple race, and Asian racial-ethnic subgroups are excluded. The reference group for each subgroup is all other subgroups.

Table Footer Note

*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

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Table 4Odds of substance use among adults who reported mental health treatment need (N=1,114) or receipt of treatment (N=1,700)a
Table Footer Note

a No treatment need is the reference group for treatment need, and no treatment is the reference group for receipt of treatment.

Table Footer Note

*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

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