OBJECTIVE: To investigate if primary care patients' perceptions of a current health problem were associated with use of health care. METHOD: One thousand seven hundred eighty-five patients presenting a new health problem to 1 of 38 physicians from 28 general practices in Aarhus County, Denmark. Patients completed a questionnaire on their illness perceptions and emotional distress before the consultation. The physicians completed a questionnaire for each patient on diagnostics and prognostics. Register data on primary health care utilization 3 years before and 2 years after baseline were obtained. Odds ratios were estimated to examine associations between previous health care use and illness perceptions. Linear regression analysis was performed to examine if illness perceptions predicted later health care use. RESULTS: Previous use: Higher use was associated with psychosocial, stress, and lifestyle attributions. Accident/chance attributions were associated with higher use for patients with a chronic disorder but with lower use for patients without a chronic disorder. A strong illness identity (number of self-reported symptoms), illness worry, a long timeline perspective, a belief that the symptoms would have serious consequences, and all emotional distress variables were associated with higher use. Use during follow-up: Infection/lowered immunity attributions were associated with higher use for patients with a chronic disorder, whereas psychosocial and lifestyle attributions were associated with higher use for all patients. Illness worry and all emotional distress variables predicted higher health care use. A strong illness identity, a long timeline perspective, a belief in serious consequences, and stress and accident/chance attributions were among the strongest predictors of health care use in a multivariate model including all variables. CONCLUSIONS: Patients' perceptions of a current health problem are associated with health care use and may offer an obvious starting point for a biopsychosocial approach in primary care.
This study examines sociodemographic differences in myocardial infarction (MI) risk perceptions among people with coronary heart disease (CHD) (N = 3130). Two variables for comparative risk perceptions were computed: (1) own risk compared to that of an average person; and (2) own risk compared to that of an average person with CHD. Comparative optimism in MI risk perceptions was common, particularly among men and those with higher education. CHD severity and psychosocial resources mediated these sociodemographic differences. These results suggest challenges for secondary prevention in CHD, particularly regarding psychosocial interventions for communicating risk information and supporting lifestyle adjustments.
This one-year follow-up study (n = 130 at baseline, n =2745 at follow-up, aged 45-74 years) examined the relationship of patients' perceptions of coronary heart disease (CHD) and illness-related factors with global health status and global quality of life (QOL) ratings. The independent variables were CHD history (myocardial infarction, revascularisation), CHD severity (use of nitrates, CHD risk factors and co-morbidities) and illness perceptions. In multivariate regression analysis, CHD history and severity explained 13% of variance in global health status and 8% in global QOL ratings at the baseline. Illness perceptions increased the share of explained variance by 18% and 16% respectively. In the follow-up, illness perceptions explained a significant but modest share of variance in change in health status and QOL when baseline health status and QOL and CHD severity were adjusted for more symptoms being attributed to CHD, severe perceived consequences of CHD, as well as a weak belief in the controllability of CHD were related to poor global health status and QOL ratings. In structural path models associations of CHD severity factors were mediated by illness perceptions. The association of disease severity with dependent variables was weaker after controlling for illness perceptions. Cognitive representations of CHD contribute to both global health status and QOL ratings and they also mediate the associations between CHD severity and well-being. No gender differences were found in associations of illness perceptions with health status or QOL ratings.
OBJECTIVE: To identify predictors of patient satisfaction among a range of patient and practitioner variables. In particular, to focus on patients' illness perceptions and the impact of a randomized controlled trial on the training of physicians in general communication skills and how to treat patients presenting with poorly defined illness. METHODS: A randomized controlled follow-up study conducted in 28 general practices in Aarhus County, Denmark. Half of the physicians were randomized into an educational program on treatment of patients presenting with medically unexplained symptoms (somatization). One thousand seven hundred eighty-five general practice attenders presenting a new health problem completed questionnaires on illness perceptions, physical functioning, and mental distress before the consultation. After the consultation, a questionnaire including relational and communicative domains of patient satisfaction with the current consultation was completed. The physicians completed a questionnaire for each patient on diagnostics and prognostics. Predictors of patient satisfaction were determined by logistic regression. RESULTS: A large number of patient and practitioner variables predicted satisfaction in univariate logistic regression models. Results from a multivariate logistic model showed that the illness perceptions "uncertainty" (patient not knowing what is wrong) and "emotional representations" (the complaint making the patient feel worried, depressed, helpless, afraid, hopeless) predicted dissatisfaction at OR (CI) = 1.8 (1.3-2.4), p