Compared the service use patterns of older adults with varying levels of mental impairment, and assessed the effects of services received on their mental health status over a 1-yr period. Data were obtained from a US General Accounting Office (1977, 1979) study of 531 elderly persons (mean age 76.1 yrs), which included administration of a modified version of the Older Americans Resources and Services Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire. Ss were interviewed twice, 1 yr apart. 174 Ss were classified as having a mild psychiatric impairment, and 118 Ss had a severe psychiatric impairment. The existence of mental impairment was related to marital status, race, and level of education. Usage of mental health services was low, although mentally impaired Ss were more likely than unimpaired Ss to use social and medical services. Results also suggest that such services can have an important effect on the mental health of older persons. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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