Second opinion behaviour among Japanese primary care patients

Takeshi Sato, Masashi Takeichi, Tomihide Hara, Shunzo Koizumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Second opinion behaviour is often observed among Japanese primary care patients. These patients secretly visit university-affiliate hospitals without informing their doctors. Research to elucidate the psychosocial determinants of this behaviour in the Japanese primary care setting is needed. Aim. To describe the sociodemographic characteristics of second opinion patients (SOPs), and to determine the factors related to this behaviour. Method. Patients from the general medicine clinic answered our original questionnaire and a 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30). A random sample of patients was questioned using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. SOPs were defined as those patients who had visited another medical facility with the same complaint, and 'doctor-shopping' patients (DSPs) were defined as those patients who had visited two or more medical facilities with the same complaint. Results. There were 420 SOPs among 1033 patients (41.0%). The multivariate analysis showed that residence and GHQ-30 were the significant differences between the SOPs and the first-visit patients (FVP) (P < 0.0005 for both factors). Also, the SOPs were anxious and sought advice from anybody, unlike the FVPs. Compared with the DSPs, they had a short duration of illness and they did not feel a worsening of their symptoms (P = 0.0001 for duration of illness; P = 0.006 for condition of illness). Conclusion. Our results showed that the SOPs who lived far from the medical school hospital felt anxiety and went to a university-affiliated hospital on the advice of anybody. Determining the reasons for this behaviour will require empirical studies regarding the nature of the patient's anxiety for illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-550
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number444
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice


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