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Thoroughly modern worries: the relationship of worries about modernity to reported symptoms, health, and medical care utilization

Thoroughly modern worries: the relationship of worries about modernity to reported symptoms, health, and medical care utilization
Thoroughly modern worries: the relationship of worries about modernity to reported symptoms, health, and medical care utilization
Objective: There is now greater public concern about how features of modern life pose threats to personal health. In two studies, we investigated the relationship between individuals' worries about modernity affecting health to symptom reports, perceptions of health and health care utilization.
Methods: In the first study, 526 University students completed a questionnaire measuring modern health worries (MHW), symptom reports and health perceptions. A second study utilized an existing national survey database of 7869 New Zealanders. Part of the survey examined people's concerns of modernity affecting their health in the past 12 months, as well as the use of conventional medical and alternative health care. Results: We found concerns about modernity affecting health were made up of four major components: environmental pollution, toxic interventions, tainted food and radiation. MHW were significantly associated with somatic complaints and ratings of the importance of health to the individual. We also found individuals with high levels of MHW had a higher rate of food intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In the second study, we found MHW to be associated with medical care utilization, particularly of alternative health practitioners.
Conclusions: The results of these studies suggest concerns about modernity do cause changes in the way individuals interpret somatic information and may play a role in undermining perceptions of health. The area of MHW is worthy of study and may hold importance for understanding aspects of functional disorders.
modernity, attitude toward health, symptoms, health care utilization, alternative medicine
0022-3999
395-401
Petrie, Keith J.
13a60af9-094f-4ad3-898e-18ccd2c75b2c
Sivertsen, Borge
d96c3711-18e3-4c5b-9aa6-f9723b7fe801
Hysing, Mari
3e1f6aa7-f1e5-41c2-8433-6f2418b3aae1
Broadbent, Elizabeth
8a6c46d3-4467-464b-9c3c-5f60a9ec5747
Moss-Morris, Rona
a502f58a-d319-49a6-8aea-9dde4efc871e
Eriksen, Hege R.
1ace57b5-b7b2-4108-9517-5a3a05e4c74a
Ursin, Holger
39d3099f-08e7-4933-ba74-30feba103c32
Petrie, Keith J.
13a60af9-094f-4ad3-898e-18ccd2c75b2c
Sivertsen, Borge
d96c3711-18e3-4c5b-9aa6-f9723b7fe801
Hysing, Mari
3e1f6aa7-f1e5-41c2-8433-6f2418b3aae1
Broadbent, Elizabeth
8a6c46d3-4467-464b-9c3c-5f60a9ec5747
Moss-Morris, Rona
a502f58a-d319-49a6-8aea-9dde4efc871e
Eriksen, Hege R.
1ace57b5-b7b2-4108-9517-5a3a05e4c74a
Ursin, Holger
39d3099f-08e7-4933-ba74-30feba103c32

Petrie, Keith J., Sivertsen, Borge, Hysing, Mari, Broadbent, Elizabeth, Moss-Morris, Rona, Eriksen, Hege R. and Ursin, Holger (2001) Thoroughly modern worries: the relationship of worries about modernity to reported symptoms, health, and medical care utilization. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 51 (1), 395-401. (doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(01)00219-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: There is now greater public concern about how features of modern life pose threats to personal health. In two studies, we investigated the relationship between individuals' worries about modernity affecting health to symptom reports, perceptions of health and health care utilization.
Methods: In the first study, 526 University students completed a questionnaire measuring modern health worries (MHW), symptom reports and health perceptions. A second study utilized an existing national survey database of 7869 New Zealanders. Part of the survey examined people's concerns of modernity affecting their health in the past 12 months, as well as the use of conventional medical and alternative health care. Results: We found concerns about modernity affecting health were made up of four major components: environmental pollution, toxic interventions, tainted food and radiation. MHW were significantly associated with somatic complaints and ratings of the importance of health to the individual. We also found individuals with high levels of MHW had a higher rate of food intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In the second study, we found MHW to be associated with medical care utilization, particularly of alternative health practitioners.
Conclusions: The results of these studies suggest concerns about modernity do cause changes in the way individuals interpret somatic information and may play a role in undermining perceptions of health. The area of MHW is worthy of study and may hold importance for understanding aspects of functional disorders.

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More information

Published date: July 2001
Keywords: modernity, attitude toward health, symptoms, health care utilization, alternative medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 50577
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/50577
ISSN: 0022-3999
PURE UUID: 14ae46f4-7007-4b8a-a394-5834bbc3cc52

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Date deposited: 06 Mar 2008
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:51

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Contributors

Author: Keith J. Petrie
Author: Borge Sivertsen
Author: Mari Hysing
Author: Elizabeth Broadbent
Author: Rona Moss-Morris
Author: Hege R. Eriksen
Author: Holger Ursin

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