Nature of the Study
The present study seeks to gain insights from data from the selected demographic cohort at a specific point in time; hence, it is cross-sectional in nature. Besides, it is fair to consider it observational as the author intends to measure the effect of a risk factor (socioeconomic status) without administering any intervention. There is no control or deliberation regarding who is and who is not exposed to the selected risk factor. The study’s scope is limited to communities residing in California (potentially, to only one town) and varying in their socioeconomic status. The scope’s narrowness is explained by the need to ensure that participants discuss the same psychological facilities in their replies for further comparison.
The sampling method can be roughly categorized as convenience sampling, though some adjustments shall be made to mitigate its drawbacks. Preferably, the sample will display sufficient diversity and include individuals from different socioeconomic classes and communities. The chosen method of inquiry is a survey that determines participants’ socioeconomic status (SES) and their perceived access to mental health care. Administering this procedure will provide the author with quantitative data. That will help to understand the nature of the relationship between three variables – income and education (independent) and access to mental health care (dependent).
The type of statistical methodology that will be used in the present study hinges upon key assumptions and limitations of the data. Indeed, its quality largely determines the validity and reliability of results. Tentatively, the research objectives may be achieved through the use of multiple linear regression due to the presence of two independent variables. However, the proposed statistical model might prove to be inapplicable. It may happen if the author will detect multicollinearity between independent variables, which is possible since income and education do correlate (Hall, 2018). Lastly, biases in data such as missing datapoints should not be overlooked. If the missingness appears systematic, particular care will need to be taken to improve the robustness of the analysis.
Definitions of Key Terms
Education is defined as the process of learning as a result of which a student receives knowledge; educational centers, schools, colleges, and universities are traditionally considered the central tools for education (“Education,” 2020).
Family Well-Being refers to the overall sense of satisfaction of family members, defined by collective and individual behavior, in which the needs of both the individual and the family as a whole are realized (IHC, 2016).
The concept of Financial Security belongs to the category of a person’s subjective perception of their economic well-being, sufficient to finance their private life and achieve their goals (Cautero, 2019).
Holistic Care refers to the psychological care of patients that emphasizes the principles of humanism: taking into account their physical, behavioral, emotional, and spiritual aspects (Jasemi et al., 2017).
Whatever the form of activity, Income is money, or some equivalent value, that a person receives in exchange for any services or goods (Kagan, 2020).
The environment in which an individual is brought up, taught, and worked limits their opportunities because of potential Inequality In Healthcare, which includes injustices in the provision of medical care among different cohorts of the population. Meanwhile, it is essential to clarify that such inequities can be addressed through humanist social policies (“Definitions for health inequalities,” n.d.).
Panic attacks, OCD, phobias, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia: these are examples of Mental Disorders that are defined as chronic or occasional states that directly affect the thinking, emotions, feelings, mood, and behavior of the individual (“Mental disorders,” 2020).
According to Fernández-Niño et al. (2019), People’s Perception Of Access is a difficult term to explain, but it can be defined as understanding and seeing phenomena and items from a certain angle; in the context of access, perception is justified by the correlation between an individual’s expectations and their socio-economic situation, which corresponds to an individual’s ability to accept assistance.
Coupled with Physical Activity, defined by the World Health Organization (2020) as body movements, that consume energy resources, Physical Health allows a person to live a more fulfilling and comfortable life.
Physical Health implies not only the absence of diseases but also maintaining a healthy lifestyle (Felman, 2020).
Psychological Care, or psychotherapy, is defined as the intentional use of clinical methods based on scientifically proven principles of psychology to maintain or improve the patient’s psychological awareness, including emotional, cognitive, or behavioral ones, in necessary directions (Cuijpers et al., 2019).
The World Health Organization (2018) defines Psychological Health as a state of mental well-being in which an individual is fully aware of his or her abilities, can work and contribute to his or her life and society.
Psychosocial Care is a broad concept that includes the psychological and emotional well-being individuals or their families, using such categories as self-esteem, adaptation, communication, social functioning, and relationships (“Theories of psychological care,” 2020).
The fact that some people may not be able to access certain services or goods is explained by the Socioeconomic Class, which is defined as a group of people with similar social and economic status, level of education, professional skills, ethnic origin, and heritage (Tarver, 2020).
Socioeconomic Status, SES, is a multidimensional term and is defined as the quality of life realized through the opportunities, rights, and benefits provided by an individual in society (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
Vulnerable Social Groups include the people living in poverty, as well as citizens who are isolated from society due to physical or age restrictions, ethnic minorities, individuals with drug or alternative addictions, and homeless people (“Vulnerable social groups,” 2016)..
Psychological health is an integral part of health: in other words, a person cannot be considered to be fully healthy unless they are mentally sound. In recent years, the medical community has refined the methods of treating mental disorders. For all their advantages, the medicalization of mental health ignores the context in which these issues occur and develop. Holistic care that sees a patient beyond their condition needs to take into consideration their socioeconomic status (SES) before suggesting changes and treatment plans.
The present study hypothesizes that SES, and namely, its two key elements – income and education, determine a person’s chances of accessing the necessary psychological services. Recent literature and data suggest that, indeed, in the United States, the mental healthcare system caters to the needs of various communities in disproportionately different ways. Some communities enjoy improved availability of services while others struggle to receive help, which only aggravates and escalates their situation. What also plays a significant role in promoting mental health is people’s perception of access. The purpose of this study is to research the factors that shape said perception.
This study employs quantitative, cross-sectional design and focuses on communities with various education and income residing in California. It is expected to recruit around 300 participants with diverse needs and backgrounds. The primary hypotheses for this study are that there is a relationship between education and income and access to psychological care. Namely, the author expects to discover that individuals with lower income and poorer education do not enjoy the same level of availability to mental health services as their peers. If successful, the findings of the study will contribute to the body of research on the subject matter and serve as an impetus to further studies. They could also inform decisions regarding healthcare strategies at higher levels.
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