Do healthy people worry? Modern health worries, subjective health complaints, perceived health, and health care utilization

Int J Behav Med. 2010 Sep;17(3):182-8. doi: 10.1007/s12529-009-9058-0.


Background: Modern health worries (MHW) are concerns related to modern or technological features of daily life (e.g., air pollution, x-rays, food additives, etc.), and have been associated with subjective health complaints (SHC) and health care use.

Purpose: The MHW scale was expected to predict aspects of health status in healthy individuals (e.g., health care visits, health perceptions, and medication use). SHC was thought to mediate the relationship between MHW and health care use. Likewise, negative affect was considered to mediate the relationship between MHW and SHC.

Method: University students (n = 432) completed assessments for MHW, SHC, perceptions of health, medication use, and health care visits.

Results: MHW were positively related to the number of subjective health complaints with negative affect partially driving this relationship. MHW were negatively related to reports of present health and medication use. MHW were marginally related, whereas SHC were significantly associated with health care utilization.

Conclusion: Concerns over modern technology appear to influence symptom reporting, perceptions of current health, medication use, and, to a degree, visits to health care providers even in young healthy samples.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult