Indexed on: 01 Jun '14Published on: 01 Jun '14Published in: The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research
This prospective study examined the longitudinal pathways to the utilization of mental health services among women in their mid-sixties. Earlier educational level, psychological symptoms, cigarette use, and physical diseases and later psychological symptoms were examined as predictors of mental health services utilization. The sample consisted of a prospective cohort of women (N = 511) who were followed from young adulthood (mean age = 32) to late midlife (mean age = 65). Using structural equation modeling, the results supported a mediational model showing that earlier low educational level and greater psychological symptoms predicted increased cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking predicted later physical diseases and symptoms. Physical diseases and symptoms were related to financial difficulty and later psychological symptoms and, ultimately, the use of mental health services by women in the mid-sixties.