Empirical research examining the decision-making processes involved in the management of problematic signs and symptoms has either focused on a specific condition or examined more general decision rules. The problem with these approaches is the difficulty in identifying which elements are specific to certain complaints and which are more generally applicable. The study presented here shows a comparison of the processes involved in the decision to seek medical care for sufferers with different types of complaint. This comparison identified various different elements in the decision-making processes which were shown to have considerable implications for their pattern of help-seeking behaviour and their pathways to the hospital accident and emergency department.
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In the study as a whole 22 per cent of the patients (N = 628) reported an attempt to contact a general practitioner. 41 per cent of patients with suspected fractures attempted to contact their general practitioner. See M. Calnan, E. Abson and J. Butler, Path ways to the Hospital Accident and Emergency Dept. Health Services Research Unit Report, University of Kent, 1979, p. 150.
R. Dingwall, Aspects of Illness. London: Martin Robertson, 1976, p. 103.
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