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Why do General Practitioners Self-Diagnose and Self-Prescribe Drugs?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology. Karolinska Institutet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology. Karolinska Institutet.
2016 (English)In: Book of Proceedings. 12th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology: OHP in Times of Change: Society and the workplace / [ed] K. Teoh, V. Dediu, N.J. Saade, & J. Hassard, Nottingham, UK, 2016, 203-203 p.Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Objective: Physicians tend to demonstrate inappropriate behavior when it comes to taking care of their own health. Self-prescribing or self-treatment seems to be practiced in many countries, and self-treated illnesses are found to be more common among general practitioners. For the physician such behavior is a threat to their own health, and as a consequence their patients might not be able to receive optimal health care. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between help seeking behavior, sickness presenteeism, exhaustion, and self- treatment among general practitioners.

Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2013 among GPs employed in one City Council in Sweden using a questionnaire on health and work factors. The criterion variable “To self-diagnose and self-treat” was measured with a single item from the Physician Career Path Questionnaire (PCPQ; Fridner, 2004). Exhaustion was measured with a scale from the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, OLBI (α = .82; Demerouti et al., 2001, 2003). “Sickness presenteeism” and “Taking vacation due to stress” was measured with single items, also from the PCPQ (Fridner, 2004). For the analyses, we used hierarchical multiple regression.

Results: Altogether 193 (63,9%) female GPs and 109 (36,1%) male GPs answered the questionnaire, a 44% response-rate. Among them 46,2% stated they had diagnosed and treated themselves for a condition for which they would have referred a patient to a specialist. Our regression analysis model revealed that those physicians who self-treated themselves were also significantly more sickness present at work. Adding to this, exhaustion among the GPs was also included in the model.

Conclusions: This study shows that self-treatment is not an isolated behavior, but occurs together with exhaustion and sickness presenteeism, indicating a quite severe situation for their health, which would need to be investigated by other doctors than themselves. This needs to be further investigated and taken into account by the National Board of Health and Welfare, County Councils and Medical Associations, and for future physicians our medical schools. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nottingham, UK, 2016. 203-203 p.
Keyword [en]
self-treatment, physicians, exhaustion
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137910ISBN: 978-0-9928786-2-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137910DiVA: diva2:1064980
Conference
12th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology. OHP in Times of Change: Society and the workplace. Athens, Greece, April 11-13, 2016.
Available from: 2017-01-13 Created: 2017-01-13 Last updated: 2017-01-13

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