Little attention has been given to psychological factors as correlates of health care use, which could be an important key to manage it. We analyzed the association of psychological factors with health care use.
Primary data were obtained from three follow‐ups (2002, 2008, and 2011) of a large population‐based study with participants aged 40+.
Using a longitudinal observational study, we analyzed the psychological factors of negative and positive affect (affective well‐being), life satisfaction (cognitive well‐being), self‐efficacy, loneliness, self‐esteem, optimism, and flexible goal adjustment using fixed‐effects regressions.
The participants provided data on health care use (visits to general practitioners [s] and specialists as well as hospitalization) and psychological factors via self‐administered questionnaires and personal interviews (7,116 observations). The sample was drawn using national probability sampling.
Controlling for self‐rated health, chronic diseases and sociodemographics, increases in affective well‐being, and optimism decreased health care use of s, specialists, and hospital treatment. Increases in cognitive well‐being decreased health care use of s and specialists. Increases in self‐efficacy decreased hospitalization.
The study underlines the influence of psychological factors on health care use. Thus, whenever possible, future studies of health care use should include psychological factors, and efforts to reduce health care use might focus on such factors.