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Being ill as narrated by children aged 11-18 years
2005 (English)In: Journal of Child Health Care, Vol. 9, no 4, 314-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Being ill from a child’s perspective has not been often investigated. The aim of this study was to illuminate the experience of being ill between the ages of 11-18 years. Four girls and one boy who were suffering short-term illness were interviewed and the data obtained subjected to qualitative content analysis. Illness disrupted their daily lives and made things unrecognizable. Being ill at the age of 11-18 seemed to imply being lost, hurt and in need of comfort from themselves and others. These narrations may indicate to health care professionals how they can improve their practice. This study suggests what is appreciated by children of this age when ill, namely being spoken to and informed about the illness and treatment. The children valued peace and quiet and wanted to listen to and adjust to their bodies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2005. Vol. 9, no 4, 314-323 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescent, Child, Cost of Illness, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Sweden
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-12018DOI: 10.1177/1367493505056485OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-12018DiVA: diva2:611349
Available from: 2013-03-15 Created: 2013-03-15 Last updated: 2014-09-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Att vara barn i sjukdom och sjukvård: barns berättelser om sina upplevelser av sjukdom och sjukvårdsrädsla
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att vara barn i sjukdom och sjukvård: barns berättelser om sina upplevelser av sjukdom och sjukvårdsrädsla
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overarching aim of this thesis is to illuminate the experience of illness and the meaning of fear of medical care through children’s narratives.

A purposive sample of 22 children and youths, aged from 2 to 18 years, narrated through play and conversation their experiences of illness and of their fear of contact with medical care. The data were analysed using thematic qualitative content analysis and the phenomenological hermeneutic method.

In childhood, the experience of being ill seems to vary with the child’s age. At the ages of 7 to 10 years, the child’s way of thinking can colour the experience;imagination can produce both problems and opportunities. Children seem to combine imagination and reality, and contrasts in the experience coexist such as being scared/confident, sad/cosy and hurt/having fun. At the age of 11 to 18,being ill seemed to imply being lost, hurt and in need of comfort from themselves and others. Medical care can be frightening to children and what is fearful can differ with age. To a 2-year-old child, medical care seemed to be dangerous; to children aged 7 to 11 years, it seemed threatening, like a monster. To the 2-year-old child, there seemed to be a conflict between, on the one hand, living up to expectations by ‘being good’ and hiding their feelings or, on the other hand, communicating their fear.

The narrations by children in the 7–11 year age group, point to the importance of empathy when caring for children, i.e., to be receptive of the child’s fear in order to help the child through and out of the fear. To be afraid for a two-yearold was to have one’s trust broken yet still be searching for a trustful relationship. However, if the child is received along with the fear, this opened up an opportunity for the child to develop courage and to gain control over the fear when under gentle care.

The results of this research revealed the possibility of using play to create stories in a creative relationship with the child. To express one’s inner feeling is a gift of trust, a gift of hospitality. Thus when caring for children we can be the ones who are receiving that gift. We can accept the offer of being a guest in the child’s world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2006. 71 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1048
Keyword
Child, adolescent, illness, medical fear, experiences, narration
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-12019 (URN)91-7264-156-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-12-15, Aula, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-03-15 Created: 2013-03-15 Last updated: 2014-09-08Bibliographically approved

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