Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Rural and urban disparities in health-related quality of life among veterans with psychiatric disorders.

Wallace AE, Weeks WB, Wang S, Lee AF, Kazis LE. Rural and urban disparities in health-related quality of life among veterans with psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2006 Jun 1; 57(6):851-6.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: The authors studied whether rural and urban disparities in health-related quality of life, demonstrated previously among veterans, persist among veterans with common psychiatric disorders. METHODS: A cohort of 748,216 users or anticipated users of Veterans Affairs services completed the Veterans Short Form Health Survey in 1999. From the survey, the authors determined health-related quality-of-life scores (physical [PCS] and mental [MCS] health component summaries) and used ICD-9-CM codes to identify veterans with six mental health disorders-depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol dependence, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. With Rural-Urban Commuting Area codes to determine urban residency, the prevalence of psychiatric illness and health-related quality of life were compared across rural and urban groups. RESULTS: All psychiatric disorders except anxiety disorders not related to posttraumatic stress disorder were more prevalent in urban settings. However, rural veterans within mental illness cohorts had worse PCS and MCS scores. Differences in PCS scores were substantial, ranging between 2.27 for schizophrenia and 3.39 for alcohol dependence (p < .001 for all diagnoses). Differences in MCS scores were statistically significant but modest. In regression models, rural-urban disparities within psychiatric disorder cohorts persisted after sociodemographic factors were controlled for. CONCLUSIONS: Although less likely than their urban counterparts to have mental disorders, rural veterans with mental illness experienced a greater disease burden and were likely to incur greater health care costs. Improving access to mental health care for veterans in rural settings may narrow quality-of-life disparities among rural and urban veterans.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.