Social Support and Health Service Use in Depressed Adults: Findings From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Sarah B. Andrea, Sarah A.R. Siegel, Alan Teo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: We investigated the relationship between social support and health service use among men and women with depression. Methods: Participants were 1379 adults with symptoms of depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score ≥. 5) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using the framework of the Andersen Behavioral Model of Health Services Use, multivariable regression models used social support, stratified by depression severity, to estimate association with utilization of mental health and nonmental health services. Partial F-tests examined a priori interactions between social support and gender. Results: Among those with adequate social support, odds of seeing a nonmental health provider were much higher when depression was moderate [Odds Ratio (OR): 2.6 (1.3-5.3)] or severe [OR: 3.2 (1.2-8.7)], compared to those lacking social support. Conversely, odds of mental health service use were 60% lower among those with moderate depression [OR: 0.4 (0.2-1.0)] when social support was adequate as opposed to inadequate. Social support was unrelated to service use when depression was mild. Gender moderated the relationship between social support and health service use among individuals with severe depression. Conclusions: Social support has opposite associations with mental and nonmental health service use among adults with clinically significant depression. This association is largely attributable to the effect of male gender on the relationship between social support and health service use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

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Keywords

  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Health service use
  • NHANES
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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