Self-medication among Finnish young men in the beginning of common military service

Kari Linden, Vesa Jormanainen, Nancy L. Swigonski, Kirsi Pietilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Little is known about self-medication in adolescent and young adult males, particularly in ones exposed to increased stress. The objective of this article is to analyze self-medication and its predictors in young Finnish men at entry into common military service. Methods: The responding men (n = 857) from nine brigades anonymously completed a self-administered questionnaire during the first conscription days before active military training in July 1999. The effect of pre-disposing, need and health behavior variables on self-medication was assessed using Andersen et al. theoretical health care utilization model. Results: In the 2 weeks preceding the survey, 65% of the men reported self-medication. Self-medication for pain or common cold symptoms was reported by 54% while 8% had taken caffeine tablets or other stimulants. Multivariate analysis on overall self-medication showed an association with brigade and using health services before the conscription. Along with pre-disposing variables, need variables were associated with self-medication for pain or common cold symptoms and self-medication with stimulants. Stimulant use was also associated with health behaviors such as trial with illegal drugs during lifetime. Conclusions: Young men frequently self-medicate at the initial stage of conscription that may pose them at an increased risk for adverse effects of medicines or other medical problems. The military and civilian primary health care providers should discuss the proper use of self-medication with young men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Adolescents
  • Men
  • Military medicine
  • Self-medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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