Introduction: Distinctions between rural and urban environments produce different frequencies of traumatic exposures and psychiatric disorders. We examine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and frequency of trauma exposures by position on the rural-urban continuum.
Methods: The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) was used to evaluate psychiatric disorders among a nationally-representative sample of the U.S. population. Rurality was designated using the Department of Agriculture's 2003 rural-urban continuum codes (RUCC), which differentiate counties into levels of rurality by population density and adjacency to metropolitan areas. Lifetime psychiatric disorders included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders, and substance abuse. Trauma exposures were classified as war-related, accident-related, disaster-related, interpersonal or other. Weighted logistic regression models examined the odds of psychiatric disorders and trauma exposures by position on the rural-urban continuum, adjusted for relevant covariates.
Results: 75% of participants were metropolitan, 12.2% were suburban, and 12.8% were from rural counties. The most common disorder reported was any anxiety disorder (38.5%). Drug abuse was more common among metropolitan (8.7%, p = 0.018), compared to nonmetropolitan (5.1% suburban, 6.1% rural) participants. A one-category increase in rurality was associated with decreased odds for war-related trauma (aOR = 0.86, 95%CI 0.78-0.95). Rurality was not associated with risk for any other lifetime psychiatric disorders or trauma exposure.
Discussion/Conclusions: Contrary to the expectation of some rural primary care providers, the frequencies of most psychiatric disorders and trauma exposures are similar across the rural-urban continuum, reinforcing calls to improve mental healthcare access in resource-poor rural communities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)