The purpose of this article was to understand and examine the number of outpatients for patients with substance abuse or mental health problem. The data was collected from 12 outpatient mental health and substance abuse facilities in four U. S. Census Regions. The authors put forward three hypotheses that guided the way that they will approach the research problem. The first hypothesis was by keeping all social-demographic information constant e. g. , sex and age, the condition of non-Latino blacks and Latinos was worse when compared with non-Latino whites. The second hypothesis was that the patients with dual medical conditions e.
g. mental problems and substance use disorders could be expected to visit the hospital more times when compared with patients with single medical condition. Lastly, the third hypothesis was that the number of non-Latino blacks and Latinos would have visited the hospital less frequently when compared to non-Latino whites. The target population was outpatients in the United States. The study sample of 1,899 patients with mental health and substance abuse problems was obtained from 12 outpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment centers within a period of two months (May 2001 – June 2002).
Out of this number, diagnoses for 1807 patients were obtained from the medical facilities. Patients who had substance and psychiatric problems were included in the study factoring the racial-ethnicity criterion: non-Latino black, Latino and non-Latino whites. The response rate of the study was 95. 26%. This rate of success may be attributed to the fact that information was retrieved from health facilities databases. Nevertheless, specifying that the sample come from only health facilities reduces the relevance of the study because there are patients with medical and substance abuse problems and they do not visit the health facilities.
External validity plays a crucial role in defining the extent of success of the project. Some information and data were missing and thus the authors had to approximate the missing data utilizing technological capabilities. However, since the data was obtained from both the public and private medical facilities indicates that all social class population was factored into the consideration. The data that were utilized were obtained from records that the medical facilities keep; hence, the data was specific and applicable in solving the hypotheses.
This means that the sampling plan was appropriate to some extent (because they analyzed hospital records and not analyzing the entire community) for analyzing the effect of substance abuse and psychiatric problems. Nevertheless, the sample was not fully representative of the entire population because the sample was only picked from only 12 health facilities. Some people with psychiatric problems and substance abuse do not visit medical facilities. In the case of substance abuse, the authors could have picked additional sample from counseling and other corrective facilities such as jails.
The type of study was descriptive because it tries to show the link that exists between race-ethnicity and medical conditions: mental health and substance abuse. The main threats to external validity are the extent of analysis and acquisition of the sample. The data of 92 patients was missing. However, through calculations and approximations these data was obtained, which to some extend jeopardize validity of the research. The study shows that there is some racial and ethnicity difference in substance abuse and psychiatric problems in population of non-Latino black, non-Latino white and Latinos.
The study should have extended to other population type such as Hispanics and African-Americans to understand the real extent of mental conditions and substance abuse to the entire population. The independent variables were the group of the targeted population e. g. Non-Latinos white, non-Latino black and Latinos. The dependent variables are the medical conditions that were being analyzed e. g. substance abuse and psychiatric conditions. The intervening variables are the link and relationship that exists between the medical conditions and patients who accessed the medical facility.
The authors were able to balance and analyze dependent, independent and intervening variables in achieving the goals of the study. The authors collected the data from outpatient facilities in twelve medical facilities. The data was obtained from the hospital databases and other recordings. Moreover, additional data was obtained through approximation of missing sample data. The authors were able to visit both public and private facilities to ensure for some external credibility. This strategy ensured that specific data was utilized in the study. Obtaining the data from medical facilities increased its validity and reliability.
However, the approximation of the missing data was the main weakness and specifying the population that is analyzed e. g. obtaining data from medical facilities rather than obtaining additional data from other agencies. The data that was obtained was grouped into six parts utilizing the BASIS-24 domains with the help of PROC MI in obtaining the missing data. The authors obtained diagnosis for 1,807 patients out of the 1,899 patients. From the analysis, the authors found out that Latino and Non-Latino black patients reported worse symptoms of substance use disorders and psychiatric disorders when compared with non-Latino white.
The authors found out that there was no relation between race-ethnicity with medical conditions. The study also showed that Latinos reported greater emotional liability, self-harm symptoms and interpersonal functioning compared with non-Latino blacks and non-Latino whites. Additionally, the study found out that self-harm symptoms were greater in non-Latino black when compared with non-Latino whites. The unique difference that existed between the Latinos and non-Latino blacks is that the severity of substance use disorders in non-Latino blacks is greater than that of the Latino.
The authors found that the relationship that exists among the three populations types was depressive symptoms and their (population) functioning capabilities. The findings of the study differed with evidence that indicates lower rates of mental health problems between the Latino and non-Latino black populations in the treatment of substance abuse. The authors have clearly explained strengths and shortcomings that may occur. The strength of the methodology was the ability of the authors to pick specific data in hospitals and utilizing it to understand the medical condition of the population.
The methodology that was utilized had various weaknesses, especially in collecting the data and analyzing it. The population that was utilized did not define the entire population because the authors utilized medical records. They could have incorporated other institutions in understanding substance abuse and psychiatric conditions. Moreover, they obtained some missing data through utilization of technological machines. This increase chances of errors in the final analysis. The authors were able to compare their findings with previous research and the conclusion indicates the entire study has achieved its goals.