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 journalArticlepeer-review

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
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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