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Barriers to treatment in an ethnically diverse sample of women with serious mental illness

Stacy L Simon, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The objective of this study was to explore the role of various barriers to mental health treatment among an ethnically diverse sample of women with serious mental illness. Although women have higher rates of initiating treatment than men (Sussman, Robins, & Earls, 1987), they may be more likely to prematurely terminate therapy (Klein, Stone, Hicks, & Pritchard, 2003), and they contend with unique barriers to effective treatment (APA, 2002, p. 28). Likewise, ethnic minorities in America face unique cultural barriers to care, and though minority groups have similar rates of mental illness, they are less likely to obtain appropriate treatment (Kessler et al., 1996). This cross-sectional study explored the hypotheses that there are differences in the amount and types of barriers reported by Ethnic minority and Caucasian women with serious mental illness, and that greater barriers will predict poorer ratings of working alliance. Participants were 64 women receiving outpatient psychiatric services at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. They completed the Barriers to Treatment Participation Scale, Symptom Checklist 90-R, Working Alliance Inventory, and Client Satisfaction Questionnaire. Contrary to the predictions, there were no significant differences between the Caucasian and Ethnic minority women in the amounts or types of barriers endorsed, and the barriers measure did not predict ratings of alliance. The findings and recommendations for further research are discussed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Simon, Stacy L, "Barriers to treatment in an ethnically diverse sample of women with serious mental illness" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3193941.