The effect of social networks and social support on mental health services use, following a life event, among the Baltimore epidemiologic catchment area cohort

Pallab K. Maulik, William W Eaton, Catherine P. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The study examined the association between life events and mental health services use, accounting for social networks and social support. Main and stress-buffering effects were estimated using longitudinal data from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area cohort (1,920 participants in 1993-1996, of whom 1,071 were re-interviewed in 2004-2005). Following a life event, the odds of using general medical services were increased by almost 50% when there was increased social support from spouse/partner (referral function). The odds of using mental health services within general health setup were reduced by 60% when there was increased support from relatives (stress-reduction function). Increased social support from friends and relatives was associated with a 40-60% decreased odds of using specialty psychiatric services after experiencing different life events (stress-reduction function). Overall, social support rather than social networks were more strongly associated with increased mental health service use following a life event. The implications for service delivery and program development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-50
Number of pages22
JournalThe Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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Baltimore
Mental Health Services
Social Support
social support
social network
health service
mental health
event
medical services
spouse
Program Development
Spouses
Psychological Stress
Psychiatry
Referral and Consultation
health
Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "The study examined the association between life events and mental health services use, accounting for social networks and social support. Main and stress-buffering effects were estimated using longitudinal data from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area cohort (1,920 participants in 1993-1996, of whom 1,071 were re-interviewed in 2004-2005). Following a life event, the odds of using general medical services were increased by almost 50{\%} when there was increased social support from spouse/partner (referral function). The odds of using mental health services within general health setup were reduced by 60{\%} when there was increased support from relatives (stress-reduction function). Increased social support from friends and relatives was associated with a 40-60{\%} decreased odds of using specialty psychiatric services after experiencing different life events (stress-reduction function). Overall, social support rather than social networks were more strongly associated with increased mental health service use following a life event. The implications for service delivery and program development are discussed.",
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