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This study used Aday and Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services Use to examine to role of chronic disease and the joint impact of race and chronic disease type on mental health utilization. Using data from Community Tracking Survey Household Survey, we tested the assumption that chronic disease, chronic disease type, and race are related to lower rates of mental health visits when adjusted for predisposing, enabling, and need factors. After adjusting for population characteristics, we found that race significantly moderated the impact of chronic disease type on mental health utilization, showing that African Americans with cardiovascular disease were half as likely as whites with cardiovascular disease to have a mental health visit, and Hispanics relative to whites with other chronic diseases were two thirds as likely to have a mental health visit. Overall, chronic disease status was positively associated with mental health utilization. However, adjusted for chronic disease, mental health status, predisposing, enabling and need factors, African Americans and Hispanics were significantly less likely than whites to have a mental health visit. Clinicians and providers must be alert to the full spectrum of needs in underserved populations.

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