Statement of purpose The purpose of this research is to explore factors impacting the use of behavioural health services among a national sample of college students in the United States.
Methods A secondary analysis of data from the Healthy Minds Study was completed via binomial logistic regression in order to ascertain the effects of age, gender, sense of belonging, and campus climate on the likelihood that college students would use behavioural health services. Linearity of the continuous variables was assessed via the Box-Tidwell procedure; a Bonferroni correction was applied resulting in statistical significance being accepted when p<0.00556.
Results The logistic regression model was statistically significant, Ï‡2 (5)=180.299, p<0.001. Three of the predictor variables included in the model were statistically significant: age, gender, and sense of belonging. The results indicate that females had 2.22 times higher odds to use counselling services than males, while increasing age was associated with an increased likelihood (1.834 higher odds) of using counselling services. Finally, increasing sense of belonging scores were associated with 3.099 times higher odds to use counselling services.
Conclusion Associations between gender, age, and increased odds of using counselling services indicate there may be a link between individual-level characteristics and use of counselling services among college students. With an increased sense of belonging being associated with increased odds for using counselling services, it appears that institutional-level characteristics could also play a role in service use.
Significance These findings lend support to the limited body of prior research that exists in this area. Given the unique issues faced by this population, and the lack of research actively addressing the gaps in knowledge or the needs of these individuals, it is imperative that research explore the specific factors that are influencing their use, or non-use, of behavioural health services.
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