Advice to parents has limited effect--where next?
British Medical Journal, 329, (7460), . (doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7460.269).
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This study shows nicely that it may be possible to train doctors to inform mothers regarding danger signs, but that about half of mothers do not recall the information—and of those who recall the advice, many do not seem to act on it.
Why do patients not follow doctors' advice? Several factors are likely to be operating. Advice from a health professional comes in the context of previous and subsequent experiences of illness and illness resolution, either personally or among family and friends, and these are likely to be strong modifiers of consultation behaviour. For example, parents may have experienced "danger signs" but nothing adverse happened, thus minimising the perceived threat. Furthermore, although doctors' advice is respected, lifestyle, demographic, and psychosocial factors and community support mechanisms are also likely to be important in determining consultation behaviour.
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