Attributions and representations of joint pain symptoms in seniors : implications for self-reported health care behaviours
Robinson, Lara Kathleen
Research suggests that 30-83% of seniors suffer from some form of pain, which often interferes with their daily functioning. This study assessed seniors' health care behaviours that are elicited by joint pain symptoms and three sets of predictor factors (demographic, need, & belief). These predictor factors were derived from a review of the empirical research and three theoretical models (the Health Services Utilisation Model, the Health Belief Model, and the Common Sense Model of Illness Representation). The predictor factors were made specific to either joint pain or ageing. Data were collected from 250 non-institutionalised seniors using a detailed personal and health information questionnaire. Two hierarchical set multiple regression analyses were done, one for Health Service Utilisation Behaviours (HSUB) and one for Self Care Behaviours (SCB). Overall, the regression analyses explained 50% of the variance of the HSUB and 23% of the variance of SCB. The need and belief sets were significantly associatedwith both HSUB and SCB variance. The demographic set of variables was not significantly associated with HSUB and SCB variance. This study has several limitations, including the use of convenience sample, modest questionnaire return rate (29%), and the reliance on self-report, retrospective data. Despite these limitations, the study contributed to this research area. Prior research has found need variables to significantly relate to HSUB. However, this study also found the belief set accounted for a significant portion of HSUB variance at both a statistical and practical level (25%). Future research could attempt to replicate the results with prospective data. Also, future research could focus on seniors with a lower economic status than those seniors who participated in this study. In addition, future research should attempt to determine what additional factors play a role in determining seniors' self care behaviours.