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Int J Public Health. 2014 Dec;59(6):967-74. doi: 10.1007/s00038-014-0583-5. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

When to see a doctor for common health problems: distribution patterns of functional health literacy across migrant populations in Switzerland.

Author information

1
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Knowing when to seek professional help for health problems is considered an important aspect of health literacy. However, little is known about the distribution of help-seeking knowledge in the general population or specific subpopulations.

METHODS:

We analysed data from the "Health Monitoring of the Swiss Migrant Population 2010" and used a short survey tool to study the distribution of help-seeking knowledge. We sampled members of four migrant groups (from Portugal, Turkey, Serbia and Kosovo; n = 2,614). Our tool contained 12 items that addressed common physical and psychological health problems. A total sum score measured help-seeking knowledge. Two sub-scores analysed knowledge related to potential overuse (minor symptoms) or potential underuse (major symptoms). We applied linear regression to show variations in help-seeking knowledge by age, sex, region of origin and length of stay.

RESULTS:

Controlling for self-rated health, we found that region of origin, higher education, female gender and younger age were significantly associated with higher knowledge scores.

CONCLUSIONS:

We present empirical evidence of unequal distribution of help-seeking knowledge across four migrant populations in Switzerland. Our findings contribute to current conceptual developments in health literacy, and provide starting points for future research.

PMID:
25012800
DOI:
10.1007/s00038-014-0583-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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