Are Expectations for Community Mental Health Increasing Among Older Adults in China?

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Abstract

In recent years, the Chinese government began expanding access to social services to older adults. This study examined whether older adults have increasing expectations that psychological consulting services will be provided by their communities. We analyzed the responses of participants in a prospective cohort study at 2 time points: 2005 and 2008. We utilized logistic regression with survey weights to determine whether there were any changes in attitudes toward community mental health services during the study period, and to determine the correlates of this change. The study participants had a higher expectation that their government would provide psychological consulting services in 2008 than 2005. The multiple logistic regressions conducted indicated that there was a statistically significant relationship between expectations for community-provided psychological consulting services and being a rural resident (odds ratio [OR] = 0.553, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.353, 0.865]), change in gross regional product per capita (OR = 0.967, 95% CI [0.937, 0.997]), the interaction of those 2 variables (OR = 1.07, 95% CI [1.03, 1.11]), and increase in psychological well-being (OR = 0.971, 95% CI [0.954, 0.988]). Our study highlights the role that economic development can play in changing attitudes toward community-provided psychological consulting services. It suggests that as economic development occurs, expectations for local communities to provide mental health services will increase.

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