Explaining Access to Human Services: The Influence of Descriptive and Behavioral Variables
Research on access tends to focus on descriptive indicators characterizing need. Other attributes such as behavior and attitudes however may also play central roles. This paper explores the influence of descriptive (e.g., sociodemographic characteristics, residential location, and physical health) and behavioral (e.g., social network interaction and mobility) variables on service use using a recent survey of persons living with HIV or AIDS in Orange County, California. Services are divided into two types: medical care (providing medication and regular examinations associated with HIV and AIDS) and human services (providing mental health care and meeting basic needs such as food, clothing, and housing). The analysis indicates that not having medical coverage was strongly associated with greater use of public medical services, and that self-reported disability and being reliant on a friend for transportation were strongly associated with greater use of human and supportive services. Implications of these results are presented for policy and future research.