Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Angela Liegey-Dougall


There has been a dearth of information that explains how an individual's emotional reactions to their illness symptoms affects their care seeking behaviors. The overall aims of this study were to elucidate the emotional and behavioral predictors for care seeking in older adults, and describe the reasons that they choose not to seek care. Cross-sectional data from a larger, longitudinal study with older adults were analyzed. Participants (N = 267, mean age=72 years) living in a retirement community in a northeastern state were interviewed. Differences were found in health behaviors between care seekers and non-care seekers; care seekers were positively associated with taking prescription medications and reading about their symptoms, whereas non-care seekers were positively associated with avoidant thoughts. Additionally, anxiety and depression were found to predict care seeking when symptoms were at their worst. Unfortunately, negative affect did not moderate the relationship between the perceived effectiveness of health behaviors and care seeking. It did, however, predict participant's failure to seek care for multiple reasons. The current study furthered the research examining the impact health behaviors and emotions have on care seeking. Future directions should focus on the ways in which both positive and negative emotions impact a person's decision to seek medical care as well as emotional differences between care seekers and care avoiders.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons