Objectives: To examine the effect of informal social support structures on the use of physical health examination services. Methods: A household-based convoy was used to reflect an individual's informal social structure. This variable included four circles: type of household, and frequent-contact non-co-residing family members, relatives, and friends. Data were obtained from "The Health and Living Conditions of the Middle Aged and the Elderly" complied by the Health Promotion Bureau of the National Health Administration in 1993, 1996, and 1999. Results: In 1999, after the implementation of National Health Insurance, frequent-contact friends had a significant positive effect on the use of physical health examinations when other relevant factors were controlled; however, two generations or more households, and non-co-residing family members or relatives did not have a significant effect. In addition, the analytical results of 1996 and 1999 data indicated that respondents with more circles were more inclined to have physical health examinations. Conclusions: Social support received from relatives and friends were able to promote the use of physical health examination services.
台灣公共衛生雜誌 / Taiwan Journal of Public Health, 31(2):164-175.