The authors conducted a study of treatment utilization and outcome on a
sample of 116 psychiatric outpatients at a Veterans Administration (VA)
hospital. Utilization and outcome measures were obtained at a follow-up
interview 18 months after a baseline assessment. Comparisons between
patients with high and low rates of utilization revealed negligible
relationships between use of services and severity of illness, clinical
change, or demographics. However, previous use of VA outpatient and
inpatient psychiatric services and VA psychiatric disability rating
predicted utilization of psychiatric care during the study. The authors
conclude that use of VA outpatient psychiatric care may reflect patients'
help-seeking history more than their current clinical need.