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J Clin Psychol. 2006 Mar;62(3):299-312.

Utilization of mental health care services among older adults with depression.

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School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Despite the availability of effective treatments for late life depression, data indicate that only a small minority of adults over the age of 65 years with depression access any kind of care for emotional or mental health problems. Using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 1.1), we compared patterns of mental health service utilization among middle-aged (45-64 years), younger old (65-74 years), and older old (75 years and older) adults with and without depression and identified predictors associated with accessing different services (n=59,302). Compared to middle-aged adults with depression, individuals aged 65 and older with depression were less likely to report any mental health consultation in the past year and especially unlikely to report consulting with professionals other than a family physician. Age remained a significant predictor of mental health service utilization even after accounting for other relevant variables such as gender, marital status, years of education, depression caseness, and number of chronic medical conditions. Although the prevalence of depression is lower in older age groups, the present study provides compelling evidence that mental health services are particularly underutilized by depressed older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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