The role of perceptual processes in the use of and willingness to use professional health care services

Luis Omar Rivera, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

To better address ethnic health disparities, it is imperative that we understand the psychological processes that shape people's use of and willingness to use professional health care services. The current research proposes and tests a model in which people's attentional orientation toward context discourages them from seeking professional health care services because (a) attentional orientation toward context encourages people to attribute symptoms of illness to external/environmental factors and (b) attributing symptoms of illness to external/environmental factors is associated with less use of professional health care services. The results of two studies show mixed support for the proposed model. Consistent with the model, increases in contextual attention were indirectly (via external symptom attributions) associated with decreases in the use of professional healthcare (Study 1) and orienting people's attention toward context decreased their willingness to seek professional health care services (Study 2). Inconsistent with the model, external symptom attributions did not mediate the negative association between attentional orientation toward context and the willingness to seek professional health care services (Study 1 and Study 2). Nonetheless, these results suggest that individual differences in professional health care service seeking are partially attributable to individual differences in attentional orientation. The implications of these results for existing psychological models of health behavior are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Psychology, Social|Health Sciences, General

Recommended Citation

Rivera, Luis Omar, "The role of perceptual processes in the use of and willingness to use professional health care services" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3457980.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3457980

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