Comparison of health-seeking characteristics of German and Belgian university students

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Introduction. The aim of this study was to determine whether the use of primary health care differs between students enrolled in Belgian and German government-funded universities. The secondary aim of the study was to determine the factors that might explain such a difference. Methods. Participants were recruited through all Belgian and German government-funded universities. Because not all the universities agreed to participate, recruiting was also done through social media groups of the universities. An anonymous online survey was used for data collection. Results. In total, 2238 completed surveys were evaluated, of which 544 from students in Belgium and 1694 from students in Germany. In Belgium, more students had a family physician (87%) as compared to the students in Germany (73%) (p < 0.001). During the two months prior to the study, 37% of the Belgian students and 35% of the German students attended a family physician (p = 0.37). More German students attended a specialist (40%) as compared to the Belgian students (24%) (p<0.001). The German students also attended the emergency department more frequently (6%) as compared to their Belgian counterparts (3%) (p = 0.004). Conclusion. Belgian university students were more likely to attend a primary care physician than the German students. The health care seemed to be better organized for Belgian students and they were more satisfied with the delivered care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medicine and Life
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


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