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Fam Pract. 2005 Aug;22(4):406-11. Epub 2005 May 16.

The worried young adult as a primary care patient.

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Primary Health Care Centre, PL 42, FIN-30101 Forssa, Finland.



Being worried about one's complaint is common among primary health care patients. Persistent and intensive worry may, however, have negative consequences.


We explored complaint-related worry and factors associated with it among 18- to 39-year-old primary health care patients.


Sixty-two patients evaluated the intensity of their worry and the severity of their complaint before seeing their GP. They were also interviewed about their background and filled in questionnaires about general tendency to illness-related worry and psychiatric symptoms.


The intensity of worry varied greatly. One fourth of the patients reported intense worry. A general tendency to worry about health and hostile reactions were associated with both the intensity of worry and the severity appraisals. The patient's education and the duration and perceived course of the complaint also played a role in worrying and in the perceptions of the severity of the complaint.


Some psychological characteristics may dispose patients to intensive worrying and pessimistic appraisals of their complaint. This challenges the GP to pay attention to the patients' perspectives and knowledge. Careful elucidation of the patients' experiences of their complaints is especially indicated in the case of complaints of long duration and a stable course.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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