This epidemiological investigation examines factors determining medical consultation in people with probable minor psychiatric morbidity. About 54% of people with probable minor psychiatric morbidity and about 23% of the (numerically much greater) remainder with lower probability of psychiatric morbidity consulted a doctor, usually a primary care physician, in the two weeks prior to a research interview. Medical consultation rates were higher in females than in males.
The dominant finding was that in people with probable minor psychiatric morbidity physical illness was strongly associated with medical consultation. Almost 89% of males and 97% of females with probable minor psychiatric morbidity and physical illness consulted a doctor in the two weeks prior to interview. Logistic regression modelling was used to investigate the joint effects on medical consultation of physical illness and six socio-demographic variables, and physical illness emerged as the major single determinant of medical consultation in women and, in men, it exerted its effect through an interaction with lower educational level.