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This entry provides an overview of the evidence that has examined why and how individuals seek help for medical problems. Because help seeking is usually triggered by the experience of physical or psychological symptoms, the first section describes the core processes and factors involved in symptom perception and how these can influence a person’s decision to seek help. Following this, there is a focus on two patterns of help seeking, which currently provide a major challenge to health care providers, namely delay and frequent attendance. Finally, there is a brief consideration of how health care providers can intervene to influence patients’ help-seeking behavior in order to reduce either potentially dangerous delays or the frequency of attendance of some patients.

Symptom Perception and Help Seeking

A common ...

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