Objectives: As adults increase in age, the likelihood for using mental health care services decrease. Underutilization, expecially among racial/ethnic minorities such as African American and Caribbean Blacks, can result in a decrease in quality of life, as well as significant costs to families, employers, and health systems.
Methods: The study explored the differences in relationships between mental health care usage and strength of religious/spiritual beliefs between African American and Caribbean Black older adults (54 years or older) and adults (18-53 years) using data from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses were conducted using Stata version 13.1.
Results: Subjective ratings about the strength of religious/spiritual beliefs (OR = 1.26; 95 CI: 0.99, 1.61), age (OR = 0.62; 95 CI: 0.48, 0.81), and sex (OR = 1.59; 95 CI: 1.25, 2.02) were significantly associated with the odds of seeking mental health care. Additionally, persons living in the South were less likely to seek mental health care services (OR = 0.47; 95 CI: 0.37, 0.60).
Conclusion: Strong religious/spiritual beliefs may promote mental health care usage. Future studies should examine the strength of religious/spiritual beliefs on mental health care usage among different demographic groups.
Keywords: Aging; NSAL; mental health services; religion; spirituality.
Conflict of interest statement
Disclosure of interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest
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