Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Hons.)


School of Nursing

First Advisor

Dr Sybe Jongeling

Second Advisor

Dr Stephen Hodby


This study explored patient attitudes toward the behaviour of self-medication during hospitalization using Ajzen's and Fishbein's model of Reasoned Action {1980}. The goal of Ajzen's and Fishbein's model is to predict and understand an individual's behaviour. This study adapted the model and identified seven variables which were thought to influence a person's intention to self-medicate. Two hypotheses were developed based upon the relationships between the variables in the model and their predicted effect upon the behaviour of self-medication. Correlational statistics were performed to determine the general relationships between a subject's specific and general attitudes toward the behaviour of self-medication, their intentions to self-medicate both during hospitalization and at home, the subject's specific and general subjective norms toward the behaviour of self-medication, and their adherence to and knowledge of current medical regime. In addition, the suitability of Ajzen's and Fishbein's model to nursing research was investigated. Forty adults, twenty female and twenty male who met the inclusion criteria participated in the study. They were required to complete an attitudinal questionnaire including a sub-section on patient knowledge of current medications. The data were collected over a six week period in a busy Perth metropolitan medical practice. The subjects were required to complete the questionnaire based upon past experience as a patient in an acute-care setting. The study found that there was a strong and positive correlation between patients' general attitudes toward the behaviour of self-medication and their intentions to self-medicate during hospitalization (r=0.81}. A 0.05 alpha level of significance was used for this study. Similarly there was a positive correlation between patients' subjective norms and their intention to self-medicate during hospitalization (r=0.52}. These findings support hypothesis one of the study which states, that the intention to selfmedicate during hospitalization will be influenced by the attitude a patient holds toward self-medication, and their perception of the beliefs of others concerning the behaviour of self-medication. However, the findings of this study did not support the second hypothesis which stated that the intention to self-medicate during hospitalization would be influenced by the patient's knowledge level of his or her prescribed medications. Further investigation is required before conclusive evidence can be drawn to support or disprove the second hypothesis. Overall, the study suggested that patients do wish to participate in self-medication programs during hospitalization and furthermore, it is one avenue by which the patient can become more involved and gain greater control in their own healthcare.