Title page for ETD etd-11132008-124813

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Harrison, Rob
Author's Email Address rharr36@lsu.edu, robjharrison1@gmail.com
URN etd-11132008-124813
Title Distance as a Barrier to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Access in Post-Katrina Orleans Parish
Degree Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Department Social Work
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michelle Livermore Committee Chair
Daphne Cain Committee Member
Priscilla Allen Committee Member
  • Service Access
  • Social Vulnerability
  • Orleans Parish
Date of Defense 2008-11-11
Availability unrestricted
Socially vulnerable populations are more susceptible to the impacts of natural disasters than other groups. An aspect of social vulnerability is lack of access to resources following a disaster. Distance is one barrier that prevents socially vulnerable populations from accessing services. Using 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data and current outpatient child and adolescent mental health facilities in post-Katrina Orleans Parish, Louisiana, this thesis seek to understand if those facilities are located farther from block groups with higher percentages of demographically disadvantaged residents than from block groups with lower percentages of demographically disadvantaged residents. Block group demographic disadvantage is defined in terms of the percent of residents who are African American, the percent of individuals living in poverty, and the percent of households headed by females with children under 18 years old.

The sample had 483 block groups in Orleans Parish. Pearsonís r and OLS regression were run comparing linear distance (dependent variable) with the independent variables of percent African American, percent poverty, and percent female-headed households with children under 18 years old. In the bivariate analysis, percent African American and female-headed households were not significantly correlated with linear distance. Percent poverty had a significant negative correlation with linear distance. While the negative association between poverty and distance remained in the in the multivariate analysis, percent African American and percent female-headed were positively correlated, as predicted.

ArcGIS was used to create maps showing the percent African-American, poor, and female-headed households in Orleans Parish. The location of the outpatient child and adolescent mental health services were mapped out as well. Analyzing the locations of these facilities showed that there is a lack of facilities in the east of Orleans Parish.

Policy planners should consider alternative approaches to providing mental health care for children and adolescents that may reside in non-poor areas with large percentages of African American. Current locations should be maintained since they are near the poorest block groups in the parish. More study is needed for understanding why distance becomes significant for block groups with higher percentages African American or female-headed households with children under 18 years old.

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