Mental Health Among Rural and Urban Drug-Involved Offenders

J. Matthew Webster, University of Kentucky
Matthew L. Hiller, University of Kentucky
Michele Staton, University of Kentucky
Carl G. Leukefeld, University of Kentucky

ABSTRACT
Although much research has examined substance abusers' mental health problems and their use of mental health services, the bulk of this research has focused on samples from urban settings. The present study examined the types of mental health problems and mental health services utilization experienced by chronic substance abusers from rural areas and compared them to the mental health problems and services utilization of chronic substance abusers from urban areas. As part of the NIDA-funded Health Services Use by Chronic Rural Drug Abusers project, a total of 661 prisoners from four Kentucky State Correctional facilities completed a face-to-face baseline interview with research staff. Participants' mental health problems and mental health services utilization were measured by the Addiction Severity Index. When compared to chronic substance abusers from urban areas, a significantly larger percentage of chronic substance abusers from rural areas reported experiencing depression, anxiety, and cognitive problems at some point during their lifetime. After controlling for sociodemographic background and mental health status, a significant rural/urban effect was found for services utilization with participants from rural areas reporting more mental health services utilization than those from urban areas. Implications of findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006