Visits to physicians (MDs), physician assistants (PAs) or nurse practitioners (NPs) by residents of a rural county in the upper-middle west of the United States were analysed in this study. A telephone survey yielded 250 responses. The dependent variable was the natural logarithm of the number of times the respondent had seen a health professional (MD, PA or NP) in the past two years. Predisposing, enabling and medical need variables were tested as potential predictors of visits. Self-rated health status, being unable to perform usual activities, and feeling upset or 'down in the dumps' proved to be important predictors, as was having a usual source of care. Health insurance coverage and family income was not, however. Unexpectedly, smokers also reported more visits. The implications for policy and future research are discussed.
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