• Healthcare Access among Adults with Frequent Mental Distress

      Khan, Khalid Salim; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Hussaini, Khaleel; Rahman, Shakaib; Shennib, Hani (The University of Arizona., 2016-05-04)
      Objective: Mental health plays a central role in the well‐being of individuals. Understanding the factors that influence mental wellness is critical in order to develop effective policy that addresses the burden of mental illness in society. The objective of this study is to identify a possible relationship between healthcare access and the presence of mental distress in individuals. Methods: Logistic regression was performed using cross sectional data from a CDC developed nationwide behavioral health surveillance program (BRFSS, 2013‐4). Odds ratios were estimated using frequent mental distress as the outcome of interest while adjusting for confounding variables such as smoking, binge drinking, obesity, etc. Six models were estimated utilizing our hypothesized variables of interest. Results: The calculated adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and confidence intervals (CI) demonstrated a positive correlation between certain variables measuring access to healthcare and the reporting of frequent mental distress, agreeing with the hypothesis. Those variables were financial cost preventing access to medical care (AOR [2], CI [1.9‐2.1]) as well as a span of more than 2 years having elapsed since a routine medical checkup by a healthcare provider (AOR [1.1], CI [1.1‐ 1.2]). The opposite effect was demonstrated in individuals who had no insurance coverage (AOR [.8], CI [.7‐.9]), which was contrary to the hypothesis. Conclusion: After adjusting for confounding variables, a strong relationship exists between individuals who are not able to see a physician due to cost, and the presence of frequent mental distress. Frequent mental distress is also increased in individuals who have not had a routine medical checkup with a physician in the last 2 years.