Minor ailments and illness behavior among physicians

Academic Article


  • This study examined the illness behavior of a sample (n = 375) of physicians in regard to the treatment of their own minor ailments. The symptoms for each of 13 minor ailments were clearly worded to describe a common ailment which in the normal course of events should disappear if left untreated. For 3 of the ailments, however, there was a high frequency of physician-dependent action; 4 other ailments showed a moderate frequency of physician-dependent action. Assuming that physicians are role models for illness behavior, in the sense that they have the authority to define what illness “is” and that they will then do what they think “best,” this sample of physicians is implicitly demonstrating what lay persons should do. These data suggest that the normative expectation to seek professional assistance (a medical solution) is reinforced by physicians through their own behavior. © J.B. Lippincott Co.
  • Published In

  • Medical Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cockerham WC; Creditor MC; Creditor UK; Imrey PB
  • Start Page

  • 164
  • End Page

  • 173
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 2