Psychotherapy utilization by United States college students

Gavin N. Rackoff, Ellen E. Fitzsimmons-Craft, C. Barr Taylor, Daniel Eisenberg, Denise E. Wilfley, Michelle G. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We studied current psychotherapy utilization rates among college students with mental health problems and identified characteristics associated with differential utilization. Participants: Nationwide online survey of students screening positive for at least one clinical mental health problem (N = 18,435). Methods: Rates and correlates of psychotherapy utilization were analyzed descriptively and with logistic regression. Results: Sample-wide, 19% reported receiving psychotherapy. Being male (vs. female), being Asian, Black or African American, or Multiracial (vs. White), greater financial difficulty, lower parent education, lower year in school, and attending a public (vs. private) institution were associated with lower utilization. Holding a gender minority (vs. female) identity and holding a sexual minority (vs. heterosexual) identity were associated with higher utilization. Utilization fell from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020, early during the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequently rebounded. Conclusions: This study estimates current psychotherapy utilization among students with mental health problems and identifies possibly underserved populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of American College Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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