18 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes in healthcare use. This study aimed to identify factors associated with a patient’s decision to avoid and/or delay healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used data from a community-based survey in Portugal from July 2020 to August 2021, “COVID-19 Barometer: Social Opinion”, which included data regarding health services use, risk perception and confidence in health services. We framed our analysis under Andersen’s Behavioural Model of Health Services Use and utilised Poisson regression to identify healthcare avoidance associated factors. Healthcare avoidance was high (44%). Higher prevalence of healthcare avoidance was found among women; participants who reported lower confidence in the healthcare system response to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19; lost income during the pandemic; experienced negative emotions due to physical distancing measures; answered the questionnaire before middle June 2021; and perceived having worse health, the measures implemented by the Government as inadequate, the information conveyed as unclear and confusing, a higher risk of getting COVID-19, a higher risk of complications and a higher risk of getting infected in a health institution. It is crucial to reassure the population that health services are safe. Health services should plan their recovery since delays in healthcare delivery can lead to increased or worsening morbidity, yielding economic and societal costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13239
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Health services
  • Healthcare avoidance
  • Risk perception


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with the patient’s decision to avoid healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this