Consumption of Conventional and Non-Conventional Medicines in an Italian Province: Between Socio-Demographic Factors and Health Beliefs
Method: The study was carried out through a questionnaire consisting of 42 closed-ended questions on the following topic areas: socio-demographic aspects (gender, age, educational qualifications, municipality of residence, civil status, and profession), consumption of medicines (type, therapeutic indication, frequency and method of administration, the occurrence of possible side-effects, suspension and the reasons for it, and self-medication practices), other aspects associated with the administration of medicines (satisfaction with healthcare professionals, the meaning given to the concept of health, and the use of the Internet as a source of healthcare information). The questionnaire was filled by a purposive sample of 4,074 inhabitants of the province of Mantova. Logical regressions were run to identify the variables influencing frequency of use.
Results: The consumption frequency of various types of medicines was associated not only with demographic aspects (such as gender, age, and education level), but also with everyday treatment strategies (such as self-medication habits and the use of information available on the Internet) and health beliefs.
Conclusion: The consumption of conventional and non-conventional medicines is guided by two principal therapeutic attitudes, one aimed at removing all pathological aspects from everyday life, and the other at contextualizing all health problems within a broader spiritual and philosophical search.