The goal of this study was to study empirically individual and household characteristics and their relation to individual medicine use behavior. The study accounted for 40% of the variance in prescribed medicine use and 20% of the variance in nonprescribed medicine use behavior for 545 AFDC households in Northern Mississippi. Perceived morbidity was the primary mediator of medicine use and 57% of the explained variance in nonprescribed medicine use. Age was a significant contributor to the variance explained in prescribed medicine use behavior. The use of nonprescribed medicines by other members of the household also significantly enhanced individual nonprescribed medicine use. Although many of the other individual and household variables were significant predictors of medicine use behavior they contributed little to the total explained variance. Research concerning medicine use in the context of the household is in the initial stage of theory development.
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