Term of Award

Winter 1993

Degree Name

Master of Health Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Sandy Streater

Committee Member 1

Bobby Kennedy

Committee Member 2

Emma Simon


Spouses of employees represent an influential portion of the population that can impact upon a company's health care costs. The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of health behavior for spouses, both male and female, to investigate the relationship between knowledge of appropriate health care utilization and actual utilization for several common illnesses or injuries: cold, fever, sore throat, backache, and diarrhea. The sample for this study consisted of 500 randomly selected employees in a southeastern sugar refinery. A survey tool, the Spouse Health Survey, was developed and administered to randomly selected employees ofthe refinery. The results from this study came from two analyses. The first analysis focused on the relationship between knowledge of appropriate health care utilization of the spouse and their actual utilization of health care services for cold, fever, sore throat, backache and diarrhea. The second analysis concerned the relationship between spousal knowledge for appropriate child health care utilization and actual child health care utilization. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that actual utilization for sore throat was significantly related (p=.0281) to knowledge. Compared to the first analysis, a higher percentage of respondents indicated the knowledge of an over utilizer for most conditions for their children than they did for themselves. The second analysis also revealed a higher number of health care visits for the spouses' children (210) than for the spouse themselves (25). An ANOVA analysis was conducted on cold, fever, sore throat, diarrhea, and backache to examine if there was a significant relationship between appropriate knowledge and actual child utilization. The condition ofcold was the only condition found to be significantly (p=.0450) related to its specific knowledge. The relationship between cumulative knowledge and actual utilization for children revealed significant relationships for the total number ofhealth care visits (p=.0095) and for the condition of sore throat (p=.0161). The study revealed a greater proportion of respondents indicating knowledge for over utilization for cumulative knowledge for their children than for themselves. This result that the spouses participating in this study were not as knowledgeable for their children as they were for themselves. This finding suggests that a worksite education program may be helpful in educating spouses with young children of appropriate health care utilization.

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