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A cross-sectional survey of patients' beliefs about stress and their help-seeking behaviour

Febles, A and Ogden, J (2005) A cross-sectional survey of patients' beliefs about stress and their help-seeking behaviour British Journal of General Practice, 55 (513). pp. 274-279.

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Background Stress has become an increasingly common presentation in general practice. This may relate to an increase in stress in people's lives or a change in the meaning of stress and its conceptualisation as a legitimate problem for the GP. Aim, To explore patients' beliefs about stress, their association with help-seeking behaviour, and to examine differences by ethnic group. Design of study Gross-sectional survey of general practice patients attending to see their GP. Setting An inner-city London practice. Method Consecutive general practice patients completed a questionnaire, which involved rating a series of symptoms for the extent to which they were associated with stress and describing their help-seeking behaviour. In total, 548 patients completed the questionnaire. Most patients described themselves as black Caribbean (n = 163), black African (n = 48), or white British In = 187). Results The symptoms most frequently associated with stress were sleeping problems, feeling depressed, feeling panicky, having high blood pressure and feeling anxious; feeling ashamed, experiencing indigestion, having diarrhoea, feeling hot or cold, and suffering from constipation were least commonly associated to stress. This model of stress did not vary by ethnic group. Ethnic group differences were found for the association between the model of stress and help-seeking behaviour. Although white British patients consistently reported that the more a symptom was seen as indicative of stress, the more likely they would be to visit the doctor for that symptom, this association was not found for either black Caribbean or black African patients. Conclusions The belief that stress-related symptoms are a legitimate problem for the GP is not universal and varies according to ethnic group. Stress is used by different patients in different ways and offers a variable pathway to the doctor.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Febles, A
Date : 2005
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 09:07
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 16:05

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