Parental health beliefs and respiratory illness consultations at general practitioners in multi-ethnic and multi-cultural areas
This research was concerned with how parents from different ethnic groups manage their children's respiratory and febrile illnesses, and their consultations at the general practitioner (GP). A review of the few British studies looking at parental health behaviour revealed that parents are continually having to make complex decisions, in which the clinical characteristics of the illness and the behaviour of the child are the most important factors in predictions of what the parent will do. Despite the belief among some GPs that their Asian patients consult more often and for trivial illnesses, we predicted that consultations, however many there are, will reflect rational decisions on the part of the parents. What may appear trivial to a doctor may not be for a parent. Including our pilot studies, we interviewed parents of 159 children - aged between two and eleven years - from three general practices in the inner-city area of Leeds. These parents were either white and indigenous, Muslims, Sikhs or Afro-Caribbeans; and approximately half of the children had been taken to see the doctor in the previous fortnight with a respiratory/febrile complaint, whereas the other half had not been to see a doctor for at least four months.