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Prevalence and determinants of the use of self-tests by members of the public to diagnose or screen for conditions without the involvement of a health professional

Ryan, Angela Veronica (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Self-tests that involve taking a biological sample to diagnose or screen for conditions without a health professional are available to the public, but they could potentially cause harm, such as false reassurance. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of their use and factors associated with using them. A systematic internet search established the availability of self-tests and informed the design of an initial questionnaire about whether people registered with general practices had used them. Interviews with respondents and a systematic literature review informed the design of an in-depth questionnaire to confirm use and investigate associated factors. It was estimated that 55 (95% confidence interval 41-68) per 1000 men and 95 (81-110) per 1000 women have self-tested excluding for pregnancy. Use was predicted (p<0.1) by: knowing about a range of tests, seeking health information, exercising less frequently, reporting not good health, having worked as a health professional, and believing health was controlled by chance and not powerful others. Being less satisfied with GP consultations and strongly agreeing that you should only see the doctor if you have serious symptoms also predicted use, implying that some use may be motivated by needs that have not been met by conventional services.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Wilson, Sue and Greenfield, Sheila
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:School of Health and Population Sciences, Primary Care Clinical Sciences
Additional Information:

Research related to this thesis is published in the following papers: Ryan A, Greenfield S, Wilson S. Prevalence and determinants of the use of self-tests by members of the public: a mixed methods study. BMC Public Health 2006; 6: 193. Ryan A, Wilson S, Greenfield S, Clifford S, McManus RJ, Pattison HM. Range of self-tests available to buy in the United Kingdom: an Internet survey. Journal of Public Health 2006, 28(4): 370-374. Ryan A, Wilson S, Greenfield S. Prevalence of the use of self-tests by adults in the United Kingdom: a questionnaire survey. Journal of Public Health 2010 Ryan A, Ives J, Wilson S, Greenfield S. Why members of the public self-test: an interview study. Family Practice 2010; 27(5): 570-581. Ryan A, Wilson S, Taylor A, Greenfield S. Factors associated with self-care activities among adults in the United Kingdom: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 2009; 9: 96. 6

Subjects:R Medicine (General)
RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1350
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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