Screening tests among family doctors: do we do as we preach?

Public Health. 2013 Mar;127(3):282-9. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Feb 16.


Objective: To assess the attitudes and practices of family doctors from Southern Israel and their relatives concerning screening tests and disease prevention.

Study design: Cross-sectional survey.

Methods: Personal interview using a questionnaire that included sociodemographic data and questions related to family doctors' compliance with screening tests for early detection.

Results: One hundred and thirty-eight of 226 eligible doctors (61%) participated in the study, and 81 of them were female (58.7%). Most of the doctors (n = 82; 59.4%) reported a strong belief in the importance of screening tests, but only 27.5% (n = 38) actually underwent these tests themselves. The main reason for non-compliance was lack of time (n = 50; 55.6%). Older doctors (age ≥50 years) were more likely to have undergone lipidograms than younger doctors (P = 0.013). There were no significant differences in the attitudes of family medicine residents and experts in attitudes to screening tests. Only 64 (46.4%) doctors had received an influenza vaccination over the previous year, and this was significantly more common among residents than experts (P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Family doctors, who are supposed to be role models, believe that screening tests for disease prevention and health promotion are important, but do not undergo most of the recommended tests themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires