Race, psychiatric diagnosis, and mental health care utilization in older patients

H. C. Kales, F. C. Blow, C. R. Bingham, J. S. Roberts, L. A. Copeland, A. M. Mellow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


To evaluate the impact of race on mental health care utilization among older patients within given clinical psychiatric diagnoses, the authors examined a retrospective sample of 23,718 elderly veterans treated in Department of Veterans Affairs inpatient facilities in 1994. Significant racial differences in mental health care utilization found over a subsequent 2-year period were related to outpatient (but not inpatient) care; for instance: 1) African American patients with psychotic disorders had significantly fewer outpatient psychiatric visits; and 2) African American patients with substance abuse disorders had significantly more psychiatric visits than Caucasian patients in their respective groups. Although inpatient utilization appeared to be similar among races, findings related to outpatient utilization may be associated with such factors as compliance, treatment efficacy, access to health care, or possible clinician bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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