Date of Conferral







Venessa Fegley


Integrated behavioral health care within primary care has become a popular style of health care delivery within the United States. However, individuals with a behavioral health concern face several barriers in using these services. The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify key factors accounting for individuals' utilization and intensity of behavioral health services. Andersen's behavioral model of health care use and the integrated theory of health behavior change served as the theoretical framework. It was hypothesized that gender, age, race, ethnicity, family size, payer type, poverty level, and certain preexisting medical conditions (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco use) would determine behavioral health care utilization and intensity. A secondary data analysis of 315 individuals who used behavioral health services within primary care was performed; the study setting was at the Center for Health, Education, Medicine, and Dentistry, located in Lakewood, New Jersey. Among the individual variables examined, only a preexisting condition of hypertension reached statistical significance, showing that those individuals were more likely to attend multiple sessions, Ï?2 (1) = 5.77, p = .02. Payer type was also found to be predictive of behavioral health care intensity. Medicare recipients were more likely to attend multiple behavioral health care sessions (74%) than were Medicaid recipients (59%) and those who were uninsured (25%). By providing insights about the barriers faced by individuals, study findings may help patient advocates and health care professionals to provide individuals with better health care. This study has implications for positive social change, as study findings may assist the United States health care system in its shift toward an integrated behavioral health care style of health care delivery.