Does time pressure create barriers for people to receive preventive health services?

Xiaoxi Yao, Allard E. Dembe, Thomas Wickizer, Bo Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Regular use of recommended preventive health services can promote good health and prevent disease. However, individuals may forgo obtaining preventive care when they are busy with competing activities and commitments. This study examined whether time pressure related to work obligations creates barriers to obtaining needed preventive health services. Methods: Data from the 2002-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) were used to measure the work hours of 61,034 employees (including 27,910 females) and their use of five preventive health services (flu vaccinations, routine check-ups, dental check-ups, mammograms and Pap smear). Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to test the association between working hours and use of each of those five services. Results: Individuals working long hours (>. 60 per week) were significantly less likely to obtain dental check-ups (OR. = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.72-0.91) and mammograms (OR. = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.31-0.73). Working 51-60. h weekly was associated with less likelihood of receiving Pap smear (OR. = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.46-0.96). No association was found for flu vaccination. Conclusions: Time pressure from work might create barriers for people to receive particular preventive health services, such as breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening and dental check-ups. Health practitioners should be aware of this particular source of barriers to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-58
Number of pages4
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Cancer screening
  • Dental check-up
  • Flu vaccination
  • Mammogram
  • Overtime
  • Pap smear
  • Preventive health services
  • Time pressure
  • Work hours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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