Decision-Making Models of Treatment Choice

  • Linda Garro


When people perceive themselves as ill, they may do a number of things. They may do nothing. They may try to treat the illness by themselves or within the family. They may consult with friends and relatives about what they should do. They may seek care from a number of different sources, including but not limited to physicians. Indeed, studies carried out in North America and Great Britain indicate that roughly 70 to 90 percent of all illness episodes are never seen by a physician (Hulka, Kupper, and Cassel, 1972; White, Williams, and Greenberg, 1961; Zola 1972, 1973). Many of these illness episodes are treated within the family, yet little attention has been given to this dimension of health care by researchers (Dean, 1981; Kleinman, 1980). Another alternative to the physician is traditional or folk healers. Anthropologists working in a variety of cultural settings have detailed how folk healers relate, interact and contrast with people seeking help and other providers of health care (e.g. Garro, in press; Janzen, 1978; Kleinman, 1980; Lock, 1980; J. Young, 1981a). Additional alternatives that vary across cultural settings include pharmacists, osteopaths, chiropractors, faith healers, health food and vitamin vendors, and quacks.


Treatment Choice Explanatory Model Correlational Approach Illness Episode Illness Belief 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Garro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ManitobaUSA

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