1. BLAXTER M. The health of the children. London: Heinemann, 1981.
2. HELMAN C.G. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Folk models of infection in an English suburban community and their relation to medical models. Cult Med Psychiatry 1978; 2: 107-137.
3. HELMAN C.G. Feed a cold, starve a fever. New Society 1981; 5 November; 223-224.
4. Royal College of General Practitioners. Health and prevention in primary care. Report of a working party. London: Royal College of General Practitioners, 1981.
5. SIGERIST H.E. The special position of the sick. In: Roemer MI (ed). Sigerist on the sociology of medicine. New York: MD Publications, 1960.
6. PARSONS T. The social system, London: Tavistock, 1952.
7. MECHANIC D. The concept of illness behaviour. Journal of Chronic Diseases 1961; 15: 189.
8. SUCHMAN E.A. Stages of illness and medical care. J Health Human Behav 1965; 5: 114.
9. FIELDS S, DRAPER J. KNERR M, HARE M.J. Babies’ illnesses from the parents’ point of view. Maternal child Health 1983; 8: 252-256.
10. PATTISON C.J., DRINKWATER C.K., DOWNHAM M.A.P. Mothers’ appreciation of their children’s symptoms. J.R. Coll Gen Pract 1982; 32: 149-162.
11. BLOOR M., HOROBIN G., Conflict and conflict resolution in doctor/patient interaction. In: Cox C, Meade A (eds). A sociology of medical practice. London: Collier-MacMillan. 1975.
12. DAVIS A. Children in clinics. London: Tavistock, 1982.
13. STIMSON G., WEBB B. Going to see the doctor. The Communication process in general practice. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975.
14. BIWAS B., SANDS C. Mothers’ reasons for attending a child health clinic, Health Visitor 1984; 57: 41-42.
15. BLAXTER M., PATERSON E. Consulting behaviour in a group of young families. J.R. Coll Gen Pract. 1982; 32: 657-662.
16. CAMPION P.D., GABRIEL J. Child consultation patterns in general practice comparing high and low consulting families. BMJ 1984; 228: 1426-1428.
17. ALPERT J.J., JOSA J., HAGGERT R.J. A month of illness and health care among low- income families. Public Health Rep. 1967; 82: 705.
18. STANTON A.N., DOWNHAM M.A.P., OAKLEY J.R., et al. Terminal symptoms in children dying suddenly and unexpectedly at home. BMJ 1978; 2: 1249-1251.
19. IRVINE D.A. The general practitioner and upper respiratory tract infections in childhood Fam Pract 1986; 3: 126-131.
20. CUNNINGHAM-BURLEY S., MACLEAN C.M.U. The role of the chemist in primary health care for children with minor complaints. Soc Sei Med 1987; 24: 371-377.
21. CUNNINGHAM-BURLEY S., IRVINE S. And have you done anything so far An examination of lay treatment of children’s symptoms. BMJ 1987; 295: 700-702.
22. SCHWARTZ H., JACOBS J. Qualitative sociology. New York: The Free Press, 1979.
23. SPENCER N.J. Parents’ recognition of the ill child. In: Macfarlane J (ed), Progress in child health. London: Churchill Livingstone, 1984.
24. LOCKER D. Symptoms and illness, the cognitive organization of disorder. London: Tavistock, 1981.
25. BLAXTER M., PATERSON E. Mothers and daughters. London: Heinemann, 1982.
26. CARTWRIGHT A. Patients and their doctors. London. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967.
27. HOWIE J.G.R., HUTCHISON K.R. Antibiotics and respiratory illness in general practice: prescribing policy and workload. BMJ 1978; 2: 1342.
28. STOTT N.C.H., DAVIS R.H. The exceptional potential in each primary care consultation. J R Coll Gen Pract 1979; 59: 201-205.
29. Royal College of General practitioners. Policy statement 2: quality in general practice. London: Royal College of General Practitioners, 1985.
30. ILLINGWORTH C.M., ILLINGWORTH R.S. Mothers are easily worried. Arch Dis Child 1984; 59: 380-384.
The study on which this paper is based was undertaken at the Department of Community Medicine, University of Edinburgh and supported by a grant from the Scottish Home and Health Department, Health Services Research Committee. We would like to thank Una MACLEAN and John DAVIES for their support, and Neil McKEGANEY and Sally WYKE for helpful comments on an earlier draft.