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October 2021

J Fam Pract. 1980 Dec; 11(7): 1085-92.

An exploration of the dimensions of illness behavior.

Demers RY, Altamore R, Mustin H, Kleinman A, Leonardi D.

Illness behavior is typically studied from the perspective of medical care practitioners. Problems for which people seek medical care are often deemed to be the universe of such ailments whereas actually they represent a small percentage of total illness experienced. This paper describes the rest of the iceberg of health problems. By using a health diary, all problems recorded by 107 participants over a three-week period were analyzed. A total of 348 problems (3.25 per person) were recorded with less than six percent of the problems receiving professional medical care. Stated differently, individuals were experiencing at least one health problem on approximately half of all study days. Health beliefs regarding selected problems were also obtained, along with non-orthodox practitioner (eg, chiropractors and naturopaths) utilization patterns.

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