Why do people go to the doctor? Sex differences in the correlates of GP consultation

Soc Sci Med. 1987;25(5):507-13. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90174-2.


This study explores the variables associated with consultation behaviour within the NHS of 256 men and women aged 16-45 and registered with one GP. The focus is on long term effects rather than on the immediate precipitants of a consultation and hence the dependent variable is the one year consultation rate. The predictor variables include predisposing, enabling and need factors. It is found that not only do women consult more often than men but also the correlates of primary care utilisation differ between the sexes. Health status (need) and social role factors (including parenthood and marital status) are found to be more important for men, while psychological predisposition is of greater significance among women in this setting. The implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • England
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sick Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires