Issues of mental health are most commonly researched from the perspective of the medical community. The political aspects of mental health such as advocacy for resources and support, interest group involvement, and politicians promoting the issue area are too often overlooked by medical professionals and political scientists. My research aims to address the intersection of policy and mental health. The consensus of current research is that mental health is researched by medical professionals and scholars of health care, however, political influence is significantly less prominent of political scientists in general. This research serves to continue the investigation of political engagement of mental health care advocacy. This study discusses mental health resources and interest group involvement. It measures state-level variance across the United States. Variables for this study were chosen based on a close review of relevant literature. The research question asks what factor influences the increase or decrease of mental health spending at the state-level. The hypothesis suggests that political interest group activity positively influences the state-level per capita mental health expenditure. The methodology used is quantitative and statistical. Data used in this study is sourced from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the United States Census and Census Bureau, as well as the Federal Election Committee. Specifically, we run a multivariate statistical analysis to measure relationships between the independent, dependent, and control variables, at the state level. This study finds that there is a weak yet significant relationship between interest group involvement and state-level per capita mental health expenditures. Research on political involvement in mental health advocacy is limited, this study helps to address the disparity of scholarly exploration in the topic.


van Doorn, Bas

Second Advisor

Corral, Alvaro


Political Science


Health Services Research


interest groups, mental health, state-level, resources

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Katherine Sain