Association between maternal and adult offspring utilization of primary healthcare

Avraham Friedman, Amnon Lahad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Healthcare behavior occurs within the context of the family unit. Little research has investigated the influences among adult family members regarding their use of medical care services. Objectives: To investigate the effects of maternal attendance patterns and maternal self-assessed health status on those of adult children. Methods: This study was a retrospective cohort, analyzing both patient records for physician visits and mailed self-administered questionnaires regarding subjective health assessment. We evaluated a unique study group of multi-generational families with free and equal access to medical services at a primary care kibbutz clinic in Israel. This enabled an exclusive focus on the association between the use of healthcare by mothers and their grown children. Results: Controlling for the subjects' age, gender and number of chronic diagnoses, a significant association exists between the family physician visit rates of a mother and those of her grown offspring (P = 0.03). Low self-health assessment is associated with higher levels of physician utilization (P = 0.003). Maternal self-health evaluation is associated with her adult children's own self-health evaluation (odds ratio 5.9, P= 0.04) and their rates of physician utilization (one additional offspring visit per year for low maternal self-health, P = 0.02). Conclusions: A mother's behavior patterns measured via self-rated health status and physician visit rates serve as a proxy for maternal attitudes regarding healthcare, and these attitudes are possibly imparted to her children for life. This study provides unique evidence for a maternal health behavior effect on grown children, and enables a more complete understanding of families attending the primary care clinic.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Family
  • Health behavior
  • Intrafamilial (non-MESH)
  • Office visits
  • Physicians
  • Utilization (non-MESH)


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