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J Psychosom Res. 1998 May;44(5):587-97.

Low education, high GP consultation rates: the effect of psychosocial factors.

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Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The purpose of this study was to estimate the contribution of psychosocial factors to the increased use of a general practitioner (GP) among those with a lower level of education. The use of GP services was elicited from survey data from 2867 respondents from the Dutch Longitudinal Study on Socio-Economic Differences in the Utilization of Health Services (LS-SEDUHS) using a simple "Yes/ No" format. Psychosocial variables included long-term stressful conditions, social support, external locus of control, coping styles, and tendency to consult (a measure of people's propensity to go to a doctor with health problems). People with primary education used the GP services more than people with higher vocational training or a university degree (OR 1.87, p<0.05), adjusted for health status and health insurance. Only tendency to consult partially explained this difference (OR: 1.74, p>0.05). Most psychosocial factors do not seem very important in explaining high GP utilization rates among those with a low socioeconomic status. Alternative explanations are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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