Stigma and difficulty accessing Medical care in a sample of adults with serious mental illness

Laysha Ostrow, Ron Manderscheid, Ramin Mojtabai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction. Wellness of people with mental illness is increasingly a public health priority. This study examined factors associated with difficulties receiving medical care in adults with mental illness. Methods. In a sample of 1,670 adults with mental illness, we assessed difficulties in accessing medical care and stigma. Results. A total of 465 (28%) participants reported difficulties in accessing medical care; 211 (13%) attributed difficulties in access to stigma. Lack of comprehensive medical care coverage and mental health symptoms were associated with increased odds of perceived difficulties in accessing medical care; personal empowerment was negatively associated with perceived difficulties attributed to stigma; education was positively associated. Discussion. The findings highlight unmet need for medical care in this population and the need to recognize stigma as a barrier medical care. Interventions to empower patients and educate medical providers about wellness for people with serious mental illness could help to reduce barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1956-1965
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Access to medical care
  • Health care reform
  • Mental illness
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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