Assessment of health seeking behaviour and self-medication among general public in the state of Penang, Malaysia

Main Article Content


Self Medication, Attitude to Health, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Physicians, Pharmacists, Surveys and Questionnaires, Malaysia


Background: Patients’ behaviour in making decisions regarding health is currently changing from passive recipients to recipients who play an active role in taking action to control their health and taking self-care initiatives.

Objectives: This study was conducted to evaluate the health seeking behaviour among general public and its associated factors; and to evaluate the medicine taking behaviour in public and the practice of self-medication.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken among general public in Penang Island, Malaysia. A convenience sampling of 888 participants successfully completed the survey. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed among the residents in the north east of Penang Island.

Results: This study showed that most of the participants chose to consult the physician when they experience any health problems (66.7%), followed by self-medication (20.9%). The first action for consulting the physician was significantly predicted by Malay respondents and retired people (OR 3.05, 95% CI 1.04-8.89). The prevalence of self-medication was 54%. The practice of self-medication was significantly associated with Chinese participants, educated people, people with alone living status and people with more self-care orientation.

Conclusion: Increasing the awareness of the public about the rational choice of getting medical assistance is a very important issue to control their health. A health education program is needed to increase the awareness about the use of medicines among the general public and to enable them to make the right decisions relating to health problems.

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