Societal and Individual Determinants of Medical Care Utilization in the United States

A theoretical framework for viewing health services utilization is presented, emphasizing the importance of the (1) characteristics of the health services delivery system, (2) changes in medical technology and social norms relating to the definition and treatment of illness, and (3) individual determinants of utilization. These three factors are specified within the context of their impact on the health care system. Empirical findings are discussed which demonstrate how the framework might be employed to explain some key patterns and trends in utilization. In addition, a method is suggested for evaluating the utility of various individual determinants of health services utilization used in the framework for achieving a situation of equitable distribution of health services in the United States.

Author(s): Ronald Andersen; John F. Newman

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Volume 51, Issue 1 (pages 95–124)
Published in 1973