The Socialization of Introspection and Illness Behaviour

  • Stephen Hansell
  • David Mechanic


The decision to seek medical care depends on the process through which individuals become aware of symptoms and interpret their significance, as well as the severity of an illness. Many social and psychological factors affect this process (Mechanic, 1978), but it has its roots in one of the most fundamental human characteristics — the capacity to think about oneself and one’s feelings. Because a symptom must first be perceived by an individual before it can be interpreted and dealt with, a reasonable hypothesis is that people who spend more time and energy introspecting will recognize and report more symptoms than less introspective individuals.


Psychological Distress Physical Symptom Symptom Reporting Illness Behaviour Human Stress 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Hansell
    • 1
  • David Mechanic
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging ResearchRutgers UniversityUSA

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