Factors that influence treatment seeking expectations in response to infectious intestinal disease: original survey and multinomial regression

Julii Brainard, Dale Weston, Steve Leach, Paul Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Infectious intestinal disease affects 25% of the UK population annually; 1 in 50 affected people consult health professionals about their illness. Aims: We tested if anticipated treatment-seeking decisions for suspected infectious intestinal disease could be related to emotional response, tolerance of symptoms, or beliefs about the consequential benefits and harms of seeking treatment (or not).

Methods: Questionnaire survey of adults living in the UK with statistical analysis of responses. A vignette was presented about a hypothetical gastrointestinal illness. People stated their emotional reactions, expected actions in response and beliefs about possible benefits or harms from seeking treatment (or not getting treatment). Multinomial regression looked for predictors of anticipated behaviour.

Results: People were inclined to consult a GP when they believed that seeking treatment would be beneficial and that its absence would be harmful. Seeking treatment was less anticipated if the condition was expected to improve quickly. Respondents were also more likely to consult if they strongly disliked fever or headache, and/or if the illness made them feel anxious or angry. Treatment-seeking (or lack of it) was not linked to harms from treatment-seeking, other specific symptoms and emotional responses.

Conclusion: It was possible to link anticipated treatment-seeking behaviour to specific factors: expected prognosis, perceived benefits of seeking treatment, some emotions and some specific symptoms. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-508
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Issue number4
Early online date7 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • gastrointestinal illness
  • norovirus
  • consultations
  • general practice
  • behaviour models
  • multinomial regression
  • Treatment-seeking
  • Self management
  • RISK
  • Consultation
  • Multinomial regression
  • Gastrointestinal disease

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