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Eur J Gen Pract. 2008;14 Suppl 1:25-7. doi: 10.1080/13814780802436077.

All in the family: times are changing.

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  • 1Department of General Practice, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



General practitioners are familiar with the fact that individual use of care is determined by the family. This paper describes to what extent patterns found in the 1970s can still be replicated in the early 21(st) century, analyzing the impact of the family on frequency of presenting minor illnesses in general practice.


We used the data of the families in the CMR database during two five-year periods: 1971-1975 and 2001-2005. All episodes of minor illness were registered using the same classification criteria in both studies. The population under study was divided in low and medium/high social class. Pearson correlation coefficients and a hierarchical linear model were used to analyse the impact of family on the frequency of presenting minor illnesses.


Correlations between parents (M/F) were stronger in 1971-1975 than in the 2001-2005 period. The influence of the family on presenting minor illness in general practice has decreased from 27.7 to 20.3%.


Though the influence of the family on presenting minor illness in general practice has decreased, nowadays (2001-2005) still we found strong correlations between family members in presenting morbidity to the GP.

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