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Peter Vedsted

Social environment and frequent attendance in Danish general practice.

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BACKGROUND: A lack of social support is associated with increased morbidity and mortality and a decreased effect of prevention. Frequent attenders to primary care are characterised by poorer social conditions than other patients in general practice, but we do not know whether this is due to social inequalities in health or whether social factors in themselves determine the use of general practice. AIM: To examine if social factors are associated with frequent attendance in general practice after adjusting for physical and psychological health variables. DESIGN OF STUDY: Population-based cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Two hundred and twenty GPs in 132 practices in the county of Aarhus, Denmark, and the listed adult population (aged 20-64 years). METHOD: A sample of frequent attenders and infrequent attenders was drawn. The study included only those resident in the county and who had consulted a GP during the period November 1997-October 1998. A questionnaire about physical, psychological and social factors was sent to the patients. The associations between social factors and frequent attendance were adjusted for physical and psychological health and tendency towards somatisation. RESULTS: A total of 1423 (73.7%) frequent attenders and 1103 (74.9%) infrequent attenders responded. Male frequent attendance was associated, with statistical significance, with living alone and being without work or on a disability pension. Among women, lack of professional education or being without work tended to increase the likelihood of frequent attendance. CONCLUSION: This study shows that for men, social factors may in themselves determine the use of general practice. None of the investigated social factors seemed to restrict the use of general practice.
Udgivelsesdato: 2005-Jul
TidsskriftBritish Journal of General Practice
Sider (fra-til)510-5
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 2005

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