Mental health attitudes among rural and urban older adults

Bert Hayslip, Robert J. Maiden, Nova L. Thomison, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study compared samples of rural (n = 107) and urban older adults (n = 126), to explore differences in their attitudes toward mental health and mental health services. The moderating role that personality may play in accounting for rural versus urban differences in these variables was also explored. Each person completed a multidimensional measure of mental health attitudes and a trait measure of personality. Older adults in urban areas expressed more positive attitudes about mental health services than their rural counterparts, even when controlling for the poorer health of rural aged persons. In both groups, older adults who had sought mental health care held more positive views about such help than those who had not. There was an interaction between personality and the rural/urban dichotomy, such that NEO Neuroticism and, to a lesser extent, NEO Openness to Experience impacted mental health attitudes and help-seeking differentially among rural and urban older adults. These findings suggest that public policy makers and mental health providers should consider the interactive roles of culture-environment, personality, and attitudes toward mental health services when designing mental health programs for older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Aging
  • Help seeking
  • Mental health attitudes
  • Personality
  • Rural vs. urban environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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