Health beliefs and physician identified "worried well"

Health Psychol. 1984;3(5):459-74. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.3.5.459.


Health belief variables of the frequent and inappropriate user of medical services, or "worried well," were examined in two studies. Study 1 showed the physician identified "worried well" to be concerned about both general and mental health issues and to perceive typically minor symptoms as more serious than other frequent appropriate users, infrequent users, and mental health comparison groups. Study 2, a prospective study, measured beliefs and subsequent use for one year. Ratings of inappropriateness of use and psychosomatic involvement made by medical providers were predicted by high degrees of self reported somatic symptomatology, mental health concern, belief in self responsibility for health care, belief that one should handle one's own problems, and a limited belief in the responsibility of powerful others for health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / psychology
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Sick Role*