The impact of the intensity of fear on patient's delay regarding health care seeking behavior: a systematic review

Int J Public Health. 2010 Oct;55(5):459-68. doi: 10.1007/s00038-010-0149-0. Epub 2010 May 14.


Objectives: This systematic review focuses on the role of the intensity of fear in patient's delay in cancer and in myocardial infarction.

Methods: In a search of literature published between 1990 and June 2009, 161 articles were found. After the use of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 11 articles in cancer and 4 articles in myocardial infarction remained.

Results: High levels of fear are associated with earlier help-seeking in both diseases; for low levels of fear, the picture is unclear.

Conclusion: The level of fear is an important factor, which should be taken into account when facilitating help-seeking by patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Delayed Diagnosis / psychology*
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*