Adults With Mental Distress More Likely to Be Uninsured

Uninsurance more common in those with mental distress only, or mental and physical distress

FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of insurance is more likely among nonelderly adults in the United States with frequent mental distress only or with both frequent mental and physical distress than in those with frequent physical distress only, according to a study published in the October issue of Psychiatric Services.

Tara W. Strine, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Behavioral Surveillance Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated the uninsurance rates among nonelderly U.S. adults who were with or without frequent physical and mental distress to estimate uninsurance rates by mental distress status. Telephonic surveys conducted from 1993 through 2009 were used to assess the prevalence of uninsurance among nearly three million respondents by self-reported frequent physical and mental distress and sociodemographic characteristics, response year, and state of residence.

The investigators found that, after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, adults (aged 18 to 64 years) with frequent mental distress only, and those with frequent mental and frequent physical distress were more likely to be uninsured than adults with frequent physical distress only (22.6, 21. 8, and 17.7 percent, respectively), with no notable difference in prevalence between adults with frequent mental distress only and those with both frequent mental distress and frequent physical distress. There was a significant increase in the prevalence of uninsurance over time among those with frequent mental distress only and those with neither mental nor physical distress.

"Uninsurance rates among nonelderly adults with frequent mental distress were disproportionately high," the authors write.

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