Socioeconomic Status and Access to Therapy

The socioeconomic status of a person is a fundamental factor that impacts his/her responses, the quality of life, and choice of patterns to communicate and socialize. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence proving the idea that there is a direct correlation between the status of a person and the access to care. In other words, the cultural background of individuals is a critically important aspect of their functioning that forms the basis for their operating in society and the ability to benefit from existing services.

The given topic acquires the top priority for contemporary science that is focused on the in-depth investigation of the functioning of all groups and the improvement of the provision of care to them. In this regard, there are multiple research works devoted to the analysis of the given field and theories that are offered to explain some regularities or phenomena that can be met there.

One of the basic assumptions linked to the problem of the socioeconomic status of a person and his/her functioning is the idea that psychological reactions are related to social class. For instance, Becker, Kraus, and Rheinschmidt-Same (2017) examine how the variations in social class define the inimitable forms of cultural expression and how cultural expressions encourage in-group philosophies. In the course of their study, they come to the conclusion that cultural expression derived from social class has the power to create and establish social boundaries within people. It means that the access to services or other benefits remains linked to important socioeconomic characteristics of people and precondition the quality of their life and the place in communities.

The given idea is critical for an improved understanding of how activity in various classes is triggered. Becker et al. (2017) are sure that representatives of lower social classes are less politically active, and this factor might prevent them from acquiring the needed services and limit their chances to accept the desired therapy. The group space peculiar to a certain class affects the behaviors of others and, at the same time, shapes the society in various ways, which might include both positive and negative alterations. For this reason, consideration of social class and its peculiarities are central to the establishment of an effective paradigm of care.

Another theory closely related to this one emphasizes the existence of the direct correlation between the concept of identity and the social status of an individual. Destin, Rheinschmidt-Same, and Richeson (2017) state that that the transitory changes in how people interpret their status individualities predict variations in behavior, thought, and motivations. In other words, the way people form their selves and see themselves in society is critically important for their interactions and the positive in communities.

At the same time, the construction of a person’s identity influences his/her thoughts and behaviors. In this regard, the significance of the socioeconomic status of a person is evidenced by the fact that it shapes people’s reactions, actions, and responses to various stressors. Concerning the discussed issue, access to therapy and care can also be linked with the identity of a person and different social groups as it is an essential element of their mentality.

The existence of the dependence between the identity of a person, his/her social status, and cultural background and the access to care and therapy also explains the tendency towards the worse outcomes of treatment and prevalence of health diseases among communities with a high percentage of the poor population. Delgadillo Asaria, Ali, and Gilbody (2016), in their research, conclude that mental health is more prevalent in poor regions, and such areas have low recovery rates. It means that there are multiple barriers for healthcare in these areas that arise mainly because of the socioeconomic status of their inhabitants and, at the same time, peculiarities of their identity.

The existence of these limitations becomes a serious concern for the government because of their impact on the health of the nation and the deterioration of the quality of the provision of care. The exclusion of people characterized by poor social conditions from the healthcare paradigm might create the basis for the emergence of new problems and the critical deterioration of the situation in the future.

Speaking about the access to therapy among people with poor social status and specific identity, the high percentage of dropping out should also be mentioned. Analyzing the issue, Khazaie, Rezaie, Shahdipour& Weaver (2016) point out that all patients who dropped out of psychotherapy have specific causes for it. Data collection shows that there is a poor understanding of its benefits for clients, the inability to continue it because of some social issues, and the necessity to engage in some other activities.

In such a way, even being offered an opportunity to acquire the needed treatment and intervention, representatives of certain socioeconomic groups prefer to avoid it. It becomes another significant issue for care providers as the lack of health literacy along with the limited access to information about the critical importance of this sort of intervention in terms of mental health issues create the basis for the further deterioration of the situation and emergence of multiple risks factors.

Racial issues are traditionally closely linked to the socioeconomic status of particular groups and their access to care. Regardless of multiple opportunities to eliminate all forms of discrimination and ensure equal access to care for all groups, there are still discrepancies between various social groups. Traditionally, representatives of multiple cultures and races belong to groups with low socioeconomic status because of the low level of income and limited opportunities for earning (Neblett, Bernard, & Banks, 2016).

At the same time, they also experience various forms of discrimination, such as gender and racial ones. Neblett et al. (2016) analyze the current state and functioning of the African American youth to reveal social, persona, and cultural factors impacting their shift to maturity, and the access to all services that are needed for the independent life. The researches come to the conclusion that males and females from this group are susceptible to racial discernment. In other words, their functioning to a greater degree depends on their socioeconomic status and cultural peculiarities.

Finally, speaking about the mental health of a person and the access to health services, researchers agree in the opinion that the level of income and the affordability of knowledge are two central elements that have a positive impact on the health status of a person and his/her ability to recover. Thus, Villatoro, Mays, Ponce, and Aneshensel (2018) analyze the dependence between race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and the need for care.

They conclude that individuals with higher levels of education and income demonstrate better results if to compare with groups that belong to poor communities. In such a way, Asian Americans, African Americas, Afro-Caribbean, and Latinos as representatives of a vulnerable social class might experience significant difficulties in acquiring the needed therapy and also face a higher risk of developing mental diseases.

In such a way, the majority of theories belonging to the given topic area accept the idea that the socioeconomic status of a person impacts his/her ability to acquire therapy. It can be linked to reduced financial opportunities, peculiarities of mentality and identity, and limited access to knowledge related to the given domain. The representatives of this cohort often face barriers that prevent them from being provided with the desired care. At the same time, there are also some racial issues that also impact the accessibility of care and therapy for various social groups.

Under these conditions, the social status of a person becomes a critically important determinant of the quality of his/her life and the ability to preserve mental health. The analyzed works evidence that the increased level of income and appropriate education might reduce the threat of acquiring a disease.

At the same time, it means that representatives of poor groups remain vulnerable because of the limited access to these resources. It becomes a serious problem that deteriorates the functioning of the healthcare sector and creates the basis for the emergence of new concerns. There is a growing body of evidence stating that the socioeconomic status of individuals directly impacts their health, which means that much effort should be devoted to the improvement of this element to achieve positive shifts.


Becker, J. C., Kraus, M. W., & Rheinschmidt-Same, M. (2017). Cultural expressions of social class and their implications for group-related beliefs and behaviors. Journal of Social Issues, 73(1), 158-174.

Destin, M., Rheinschmidt-Same, M., & Richeson, J. A. (2017). Status-based identity: A conceptual approach integrating the social psychological study of socioeconomic status and identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2), 270-289.

Delgadillo Asaria, Ali, & Gilbody, (2016). On poverty, politics and psychology: The socioeconomic gradient of mental healthcare utilisation and outcomes. British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 209(5), 429-430.

Khazaie, H., Rezaie, L., Shahdipour, N., & Weaver, P. (2016). Exploration of the reasons for dropping out of psychotherapy: A qualitative study. Evaluation and Program Planning, 56, 23-30.

Neblett, E. W., Bernard, D. L., & Banks, K. H. (2016). The moderating roles of gender and socioeconomic status in the association between racial discrimination and psychological adjustment. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 23(3), 385–397.

Villatoro, A. P., Mays, V. M., Ponce, N. A., & Aneshensel, C. S. (2018). Perceived need for mental health care: The intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. Society and Mental Health, 8(1), 1–24.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Socioeconomic Status and Access to Therapy." September 18, 2023.

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PsychologyWriting. "Socioeconomic Status and Access to Therapy." September 18, 2023.