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Social support and mental health treatment among persons with PTSD: results of a nationally representative survey.

Sripada RK, Pfeiffer PN, Rauch SA, Bohnert KM. Social support and mental health treatment among persons with PTSD: results of a nationally representative survey. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2015 Jan 1; 66(1):65-71.

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OBJECTIVE: Despite continued outreach efforts, levels of mental health care utilization for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remain low. As such, it is important to identify factors that may promote or discourage treatment engagement. This study was designed to examine the association between perceived social support and utilization of several types of PTSD services. METHODS: Data came from wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which was administered between 2004 and 2005. PTSD was assessed via structured interview, and perceived social support was assessed via the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List-12. Participants were asked about receipt of four modalities of PTSD-specific treatment: outpatient, hospitalization, emergency department visits, and psychiatric medication prescriptions. Weighted logistic regression modeling was performed to examine associations between social support scores and the odds of receiving treatment for PTSD, and the analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and PTSD severity. RESULTS: The final sample consisted of 2,811 individuals with PTSD. Social support was not associated with the odds of receiving any type of PTSD treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Among individuals in the general population with PTSD, perceived social support may not be related to PTSD treatment utilization. Other factors, such as sociodemographic characteristics and symptom severity, may be more important predictors of receipt of PTSD-specific treatment.

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