Help-seeking behaviour: a concept analysis

Int J Nurs Pract. 2011 Jun;17(3):280-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2011.01936.x.


The concept 'help-seeking behaviour' has gained popularity in recent years as an important vehicle for exploring and understanding patient delay and prompt action across a variety of health conditions. The term is used interchangeably with health seeking and is described as part of both illness behaviour and health behaviour. Concept clarification is required to aid nurses and other health-care professionals understanding of the attributes of help-seeking behaviour and to guide theory development, practice and research. The Walker and Avant method of concept analysis was used to guide the analysis. Help-seeking behaviour was shown to be a complex decision-making process instigated by a problem that challenges personal abilities. According to the literature, the process is characterized by the following attributes: problem focused, intentional action and interpersonal interaction. Help-seeking behaviour for a health problem can therefore be defined as a problem focused, planned behaviour, involving interpersonal interaction with a selected health-care professional.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*