Purpose: To examine perceived need for care for mental health problems as a possible contributor to ethnic disparities in receiving care among low-income depressed women. Methods: The role of ethnicity, somatization, and stigma as they relate to perceived need for care is examined. Participants were 1577 low-income women who met criteria for depression. Results: Compared with U.S.-born depressed white women, most depressed ethnic minority women were less likely to perceive a need for mental health care (black immigrants: OR 0.30, p < 0.001; U.S.-born blacks: OR 0.43, p < 0.001; immigrant Latinas: OR 0.52, p < 0.01). Stigma-related concerns decreased the likelihood of perceiving a need for mental health care (OR 0.80, p < 0.05). Having multiple somatic symptoms (OR 1.57, p < 0.001) increased the likelihood of endorsing perceived need. Conclusions: Findings suggest that there are ethnic differences in perceived need for mental healthcare that may partially account for the low rates of care for depression among low-income and minority women. The relations among stigma, somatization, and perceived need were strikingly similar across ethnic groups.
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