An investigation of medicine usage patterns and psychological well-being of a sample of South African Police Service members
Barnard, Adam Johannes
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For several years scientific research has provided ample evidence to support the fact that the health of an individual is dependent on more than merely the absence of the symptoms of disease. This is the view that has been accepted by the World Health Organisation and therefor it was included in its definition of health. In the field of practiced psychology, a lot of attention was drawn to the relation between the psyche and physical health, of which various researchers have found that psychological well-being has an influence, and is influenced by, the health of the individual. From the pharmaceutical dimension of health management, it is clear that disease symptoms correlate with the drug utilisation of patients, although only completely in those cases in which the economic considerations do not play a role. As mentioned earlier there is existing evidence indicating the relationship between psychological well-being and health. This relation might influence, in another dimension, the drug utilisation of the individual. Drug utilisation studies may be the ideal tool to reveal evidence that will enable someone to improve the health of SAPS members, as well as members of the economically disadvantaged South African public. The general objective of this study was to determine the drug utilisation and psychological well-being of South African Police Service members. This empirical study can be classified as a one-shot cross sectional design, and consisted of two phases. In the first phase, a random sample of 170 SAPS participants from a specified rural area was requested to complete questionnaires including a Demographic questionnaire, Sense of Coherence Scale (Antonovsky, 1987), Affectometer II (Kammann & Flett, 1983) and Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener et al., 1985). The data from the questionnaires were processed and statistically analysed. In the second phase, the study population consisted of all polmed® patients stationed in the specified area. The medical data of the participants, extracted from the polmed® database, was processed and statistically analysed. It was concluded that the level of psychological well-being, in particular the affect balance, of the SAPS members is distressfully low, and that this is mainly due to their working environment. Further it was found that the doctor visits of the SAPS members occur very frequently and are accompanied with high costs. In the inquiry to the medication usage of polmed® members, 8 medication groups were implicated as high frequency and cost groups (in particular medication that work in on the central nervous system), regardless of gender or age. The specified groups represented the most of the products used by the study population. It was found that the majority of products used, are patent or brand name products. Finally, results have indicated that the hospitalisation of SAPS members is very frequent and therefore very costly. Recommendations for further research, as well as the practice, were formulated.
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