Ethnic differences in women's use of mental health services: do social networks play a role? Findings from a national survey

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Kapadia, Dharmi ; Nazroo, Jacques Yzet ; Tranmer, Mark (2018)

Objectives: The reasons for ethnic differences in women’s mental health service use in England remain unclear. The aims of this study were to ascertain: ethnic differences in women’s usage of mental health services, if social networks are independently associated with service use, and if the association between women’s social networks and service use varies between ethnic groups.<br/><br/>Design: Logistic regression modelling of nationally representative data from the Ethnic Minority Psychiatric Illness Rates in the Community (EMPIRIC) survey conducted in England. The analytic sample (2260 women, aged 16–74 years) was drawn from the representative subsample of 2340 women in EMPIRIC for whom data on mental health services, and social networks were available.<br/><br/>Results: Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were less likely than White women to have used mental health services (Pakistani OR = 0.23, CI = 0.08–0.65, p = .005; Bangladeshi OR = 0.25, CI = 0.07–0.86, p = .027). Frequent contact with relatives reduced mental health service use (OR = 0.45, CI = 0.23–0.89, p = .023). An increase in perceived inadequate support in women’s close networks was associated with increased odds of using mental health services (OR = 1.91, CI = 1.11–3.27, p = .019). The influence of social networks on mental health service use did not differ between ethnic groups.<br/><br/>Conclusions: The differential treatment of women from Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups in primary care settings could be a possible reason for the observed differences in mental health service use.
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