What Kind of Personality Goes to the Emergency Room Often?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen L. Ristvedt, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Washington University St. Louis, MO  63110-1093

Dr. Ristvedt

Stephen L. Ristvedt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Washington University
St. Louis, MO  63110-1093 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Having a usual source of healthcare – either with a regular doctor or a medical clinic – is the best way to manage one’s health in a proactive way.  Doctors and clinics can provide ongoing guidance with regard to the use of preventive medical screenings as well as the management of chronic illness.  Unfortunately, a significant proportion of US adults do not have a usual source of healthcare.  Also, many people often rely for their healthcare needs on a hospital emergency department, where there is neither sufficient continuity of care nor counseling for prevention.

We wanted to investigate what factors might contribute to suboptimal utilization of healthcare resources.  We were particularly interested in looking at individual psychological factors that might play a role in the choices that people make when seeking healthcare.  One specific psychological characteristic proved to be important in our study.  That characteristic is called “threat sensitivity,” and it is measured with a simple questionnaire.  People who are relatively high in threat sensitivity are prone to experience high levels of anxiety in potentially threatening situations  Continue reading