Conservation of energy, uncertainty reduction, and swift utilization of medical care among the elderly: Study ii

Elaine A. Leventhal, Douglas Easterling, Howard Leventhal, Linda Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined age differences in the timing of the decision to seek medical care. The data were obtained from a longitudinal study of 366 community dwelling adults aged 45 to 93 years. Subjects were paired for age, gender, and health status, and both members of a pair were interviewed when either one initiated a medical visit for a new problem. This allowed the authors to examine delay in care-seeking for individuals with new symptoms who did not seek care as well as those who did. Survival analysis was used to test hypotheses respecting age differences for total delay (the time from first noticing symptoms until calling for care) and its two constituent phases: Appraisal delay (symptom onset until deciding one was ill) and illness delay (decision one was ill until calling for care). Older persons were expected to be more avoidant of uncertainty and conserving of physical and psychic resources and thus quicker to seek care. The results and findings on reasons for delay support the uncertainly avoidance hypothesis but did not replicate signs of higher levels of avoidance behavior by middle-aged subjects than by older subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-1000
Number of pages13
JournalMedical care
Volume33
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Care seeking
  • Conservation
  • Uncertainty reduction

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