The influence of social support on healthcare service use following transport-related musculoskeletal injury

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Abstract

Background: Social support has been identified as a significant factor in the recovery of individuals with musculoskeletal injury (MSI). However, relatively limited research has examined the mechanisms through which social support influences healthcare service use. This research examines the direct effects, mediating effects and effect modification of social support on healthcare service use among people with MSI sustained in a transport accident. Methods: The study design was secondary data analysis of cross-sectional surveys of compensated transport accident victims in Victoria in 2010 and 2011, linked to compensation claims and payment records. Analyses included (i) zero-inflated negative binomial and logistic regressions to model healthcare service use (direct effect), (ii) the Karlson, Holme and Breen (KHB) method to assess social support as a mediator of predisposing factors, need factors and healthcare service use (mediation effect), and (iii) interactions to assess social support as a modifier between predisposing factors, need factors and healthcare service use (effect modification). Results: Results of the direct analyses showed that support from family was associated with lower uptake of allied healthcare services (odds ratio (OR) 2.17; 95 % confidence intervals (CI) 1.21-3.91). Support from friends was associated with lower uptake (OR 1.87; 95 % CI 1.09-3.21) and lower rate (i.e. number of services per person) of allied healthcare services (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.65; 95 % CI 0.52-0.83). Support from friends (OR 0.60; 95 % CI 0.38-0.95) was also associated with lower uptake of mental healthcare services. No statistically significant mediation effects were identified for family or friends' support on the uptake of allied and mental healthcare services. Family support was found to modify the association between socio-economic indexes for areas and mental healthcare service use. In the group that reported having no social support, mental healthcare service uptake in the socioeconomically advantaged group was lower than in the disadvantaged group (OR 0.36; 95 % CI 0.16-0.83). Conclusions: The findings suggest that social support has a direct and modifying effect on healthcare service use but does not mediate the association between predisposing factors, need factors and healthcare service use. The study findings have implications for the role of social support in the prevention, treatment and intervention of individuals with MSI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number310
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Healthcare service use
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Social support

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