Utilization of medical services and quality of life among low-income patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder attending primary care clinics

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objective: Anxiety disorders appear to influence morbidity and medical utilization. However, little is known about the relationship between Generalized Anxiety Disorder, quality of life, and medical utilization, especially among low-income patients. The goals of this investigation were to 1) determine if low-income patients with GAD utilize medical services more than patients with other Axis I diagnoses, or no psychopathology, and 2) compare the health-related quality of life of these three groups. Method: Participants were randomly recruited from public primary care clinics and administered intake assessments of demographics, stress, and health-related self-report questionnaires. At the end of the first year a structured psychiatric interview was administered (N = 431). Over the second year, patients (n = 360) were administered a health-related quality of life measure every three months for four assessments. Medical charts were abstracted to collect information about chronic illnesses and visits to outpatient clinics and the emergency department during the two years. Results: Patients were predominantly middle-aged, low-income, uninsured African-American females. In this low-income sample, patients with GAD utilized the emergency department more and reported poorer quality of life than patients with other Axis I disorders and patients without any psychopathology. Conclusion: Low-income patients with GAD utilize the emergency department more and report poorer quality of life than patients with other Axis I disorders and patients without any psychopathology. Programs to identify and treat patients with GAD may yield improvements in quality of life, as well as reduce emergency department utilization.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jones GN; Ames SC; Jeffries SK; Scarinci IC; Brantley PJ
  • Start Page

  • 183
  • End Page

  • 198
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 2