Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

Psychological Causes of Medical Signs Decrease Perceived Severity, Support for Care, and Donations


Journal of the Association for Consumer Research



Authors / Editors

Goksel S;Faro D;Puntoni S


Publication Year



How do people assess the severity of health problems? How do they decide whether these merit medical attention? We investigate how beliefs about psychological and physical causes of medical signs affect their perceived severity. Three studies showed that people perceive medical signs, objective and observable evidence of illnesses, as less severe if they originate from psychological rather than physical causes. For instance, participants rated the same cough as less harsh and scratchy when they believe it was caused by anxiety rather than by drinking contaminated tap water. As a result, participants were less likely to recommend care for medical signs with psychological origins, less likely to prioritize their care among multiple health problems, and reluctant to financially support scientific research for their cure.

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.