Self-care substitute, supplement, or stimulus for formal medical care services?

Gretciien V. Fleming*, Aida L. Giachello, Ronald M. Andersen, Patricia Andrade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This article examines the relationship between selected self-care practices during an episode of illness and the use of formal medical care. Stimulated by conflicting evidence and assertions, the general question addressed is: “Is self- care a substitute, a supplement, or a stimulus for use of formal medical care services?” Multiple Classification Analysis was used in a secondary data analysis of a 1976 nationwide study on access to medical care. The results suggest that self-care users may visit the physician less often and stay fewer days in the hospital, and thus they are expected to have lower expenditures for hospital and physician services. Therefore, the self-care activities examined appear to be substitutes for, rather than supplements or stimuli to, health services utilization. The results must be viewed with some caution due to limitations in the data. However, the results also argue for a greater research emphasis on self-care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-966
Number of pages17
JournalMedical care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1984


  • Costs of care
  • Lay consultation
  • Nonprescribed medication
  • Self-care
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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