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Sixty patients who visited their general practitioner were matched with 60 patients registered with the same doctor, who were of the same sex and in the same ten-year age group, and who had not visited the doctor for at least one year, but had recently experienced symptoms similar to those presented by the attending patients.
Comparison of the 60 pairs revealed the following differences, all substantial although not all statistically significant. The patients who visited the doctor perceived themselves as less healthy, fewer had attempted self-treatment, more reported serious personal problems, and fewer reported obstacles to visiting the doctor.
Differences between the pairs were negligible for total number of current ailments, effectiveness of self-treatment, if used, optimism about the healing powers of doctors, and fear of troubling their doctor with trivia.