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Allocating a scarce mental health treatment to the underweight and overweight

McClelland, AGR; Furnham, A; Gajre, M; (2017) Allocating a scarce mental health treatment to the underweight and overweight. Journal of Mental Health 10.1080/09638237.2017.1370636. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: This is one of a number of programmatic studies on the allocation of scarce medical resources. Aims: This study investigated whether certain characteristics about patients influence the priority they are assigned for a scarce mental health treatment. Similar studies for physical treatments have found that young, poor, and mentally healthy patients are given the highest priority. / Method: Each participant completed one questionnaire where they ranked a list of 8 hypothetical patients in order of priority for treatment for anorexia or obesity. The patients varied on three dimensions: age, social class and mental health history. This was a ranking of prioritization for treatment. / Results: Participants gave the young patients, from a low social class background, who had a mental health history the highest priority for treatment. This is in contrast to previous studies indicating that the mentally unwell are discriminated against. / Conclusions: Participants seemed to be using social class as a proxy measure of ability to pay which they weighted very highly.

Type: Article
Title: Allocating a scarce mental health treatment to the underweight and overweight
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09638237.2017.1370636
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2017.1370636
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Obesity, Anorexia, poverty, mental illness, ethics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1568255
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