Studying the help seeking behavior among a group of administrative personnel in Theodor Bilharz Institute

Shahinaz Mekheimar
Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association 2003, 78 (5-6): 497-512

BACKGROUND: Improving the health level of the individuals requires changes in the behavior of the people concerned and in the structure of health service organization. This can be achieved by working with people to accept measures which will improve their health, by exploring people's health behavior, by providing preventive services, and by improving people's satisfaction with medical consultation.

AIM OF THE STUDY: To provide preventive services in the newly established Health Education/Promotion Unit in Theodor Bilharz Research Institute (TBRI), relying on exploring the help seeking behavior and some related factors, among a group of administrative employee.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Out of 152 administrative employees, 80 accepted to participate, who were subjected to a pre-tested specially designed questionnaire soliciting information regarding help seeking behavior and some possible factors influencing it such as: socio-demographic variables, knowledge about disease prevention, needed health information, disease perception, and some aspects of doctor patient relationship.

RESULTS: In 80 studied administrative personnel composed of 60 (75%) females and 20 (25%) males, with a mean age of 41.3 +/- 5.5 years, most of the participants were married 74 (92.5%), most of them 75 (93.8%) possessed a diploma degree in various administrative specialties, and nearly 2/3rd of the sample 49 (61.3%) had more than three children. Our study highlighted that the belief in preventive medicine is minimal, as only 5 (6.2%) do believe in it and male participants do believe more in preventive service than females (20.0% versus 1.7%, P = 0.00). Factors which are highly associated with the belief in preventive medicine were related to individual satisfaction with medical consultation (20.8% versus 0.0%, P = 0.00), which was mainly attributed to doctor's positive attitude towards their patients (13.3% versus 2.0%, P = 0.04). Illness behavior in our studied sample varied from going to the doctor, self treatment, and doing nothing which accounted for 66.3%, 25.0%, and 8.7% respectively. The only significant factor which affected the decision of seeking medical help was the doctor's ability to discuss the diagnosis with their patients (97.9% versus 18.8%, P = 0.00). Nearly 2/3rd of the examined group reported their dissatisfaction with medical consultation 70%, dissatisfaction was attributed to doctor's and patient's attitude, which accounted for 62.5% and 37.5% respectively.

CONCLUSION: Health care practitioners have an important role in promoting healthy behavior provided they have better communication skills. Understanding the help seeking behavior has a great reflection on the proper provision of both preventive and curative medicine services.

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