Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Wansoo Park

Keywords

Andersen behavioral model, body image, Eating Disorders, ethnicity and income, Service Utilization, structural social work

Abstract

This study adapted Andersen’s behavioural model of service utilization (1995) to explore health and mental health service utilization amongst women at risk for developing an eating disorder in Canada. Specifically, secondary data analysis using the Canadian Community Health Survey (2012) were used to examine the relationship between body dissatisfaction, socioeconomic variables (ethnicity and income), and service utilization (health care utilization, mental health care utilization and unmet needs) amongst Canadian women. Results indicated that body dissatisfied women had high health and mental health service utilization, and higher reported unmet needs. Furthermore, increased age and lower educational attainment were associated with disparities in mental health service utilization. Finally, the majority of reasons that body dissatisfied women provided for unmet needs were based on structural barriers. This study highlighted significant barriers to service utilization for women at risk of eating disorders in Canada. Due to the high individual and social costs to eating disorders, barriers creating inequitable health services and mental health services need to be addressed in clinical practice, organizational structures, policy, and in research to improve treatment pathways.

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