Background: Gender and social relationships are believed to have a strong influence on health care attitudes and behavior. This study was designed to determine the effect of the gender of closely associated persons on the health care-seeking behavior of persons of the opposite sex.
Methods: We developed a 14-item questionnaire that requested information on social and demographic characteristics, health status, and influences on the decision to seek health care, and administered it to 314 consecutive patients seen at two family medicine clinics in San Diego, California. Data were analyzed by means of one way analysis of variance for continuous variables and the chi-square test for categorical variables. Additionally, data were analyzed by means of a multivariant logistic regression model that calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.
Results: Men were 2.7 times more likely than women to be influenced to seek health care by a member of the opposite sex (95% CI, 1.6 to 4.6). Married patients were 2.4 times more likely than unmarried patients to be influenced to seek health care by a member of the opposite sex (95% CI, 1.4 to 4.3).
Conclusions: Women exert an important influence on the decisions of men to seek health care.