Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Health can be described as both a product and a process of life, and is necessary for human wellbeing, overall quality of life and productivity. While health is generally desirable, many factors affect health and health outcomes of individuals and populations the world over. Virtually all individuals will be faced with one health problem or another during their lifetime, that requires some form of health care intervention. Whatever their reasons for seeking care, all health care consumers share a common interest – a desire to get better. In a pluralistic health care environment where different avenues exist for seeking and receiving health care, differential choice of care may be influenced by sociodemographic and related factors. To the extent that the available avenues for seeking and receiving health care do not offer the same opportunities for improving health, significantly different health outcomes may be realized for comparable conditions for which different types and volume of health care are sought and received. Understanding the factors that influence health-seeking behaviors among various populations may therefore, be an important first step in designing intervention programs that nudge health consumers toward better health-seeking behaviors with the goal to improving health and health outcomes among these populations. The purpose of this research was to develop a research instrument for studying health-seeking behaviors based on the Health Belief Model, and to use the instrument to study the factors that influence/predict health-seeking behaviors among Ghanaians. Using a convenience sample of 504 participants recruited from the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta and Northern Regions, analyses of the data showed that different sociodemographic characteristics such as age group, gender and health insurance status as well as selected modified constructs of the Health Belief Model such as Perceived Barriers to mainstream care, variously and collectively influence health-seeking behaviors at government and private health facilities, self-medication with herbal and pharmaceutical drugs, faith healing and care from traditional/herbal practitioners. Based on the findings of this study, the author concludes that health-seeking behaviors in Ghana are influenced by a multiplicity of factors including sociodemographic characteristics. Subsequently, recommendations for a more extensive study with a complementary qualitative enquiry are made in order to gain a more wholistic insight of the drivers of health-seeking behaviors in Ghana.
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