The Development of Health Care–Seeking Behaviors in Traditional-Age Undergraduate College Students


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Abstract

PurposeTraditional-age undergraduate college students are embarking into the world of autonomous decision making. These decisions encompass not only academics but also lifestyle and lifeskills. One of the lifeskill areas in which students have difficulty is seeking health care independently. The aim of this pilot study is to gather qualitative data to help illuminate the process of the development of health care–seeking behaviors in traditional-age undergraduate college students (18–23 years).Data sourceA purposive focus group sample of eight traditional-age undergraduate college students was recruited from a private university in the northeastern United States.ConclusionsFive major themes emerged: needing help or care, expectations, decision making, healthcare accessibility, and future needs. Health care for these student participants is expected upon demand by them in this “age of convenience.”Implications for PracticeThe findings indicate these traditional-age undergraduate college students view themselves as independent but still rely on parental supervision of health care. Implications for providing primary health care for this generation may include marketing strategies to meet this perspective of “24-7” care based upon this limited focus group, but further expanded studies are needed for generalizations.

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