Lege Artis Medicinae

[Fear of medical care: epidemiology and prevention among 5-6 years old children]

PÓCS Dávid, SIKLÓSI Réka, NYÁRI Tibor, BARABÁS Katalin

JANUARY 20, 2013

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2013;23(01)

[INTRODUCTION - At least 5-10% of the adult population is afraid of medical care. These fears may begin in preschool years. Therefore, the aim of our study was to assess the rates of medical fears among 5-6 year old children, and to prove that medical fears can be reduced by a health promotion program for children called “Teddy Bear Hospital” POPULATION AND METHODS - 248 children participated in the study (average age: 5.5 years, 45% girl, 55% boy). The “Teddy group” (129 children) took part in the Teddy Bear hospital program (Teddy group). The control group (119 children) did not take part in this program (control group). Questionnaires, including a Visual Analog Scale, a picture test, and drawing analyses were completed on two separate occasions three weeks apart difference. RESULTS - Fear of needles was the most frequent fear (59%) among the participating children, followed by the fear of medical environment (33%), the fear because of the lack of information (27%), the fear of doctors (20%), and the fear of pain (15%). On the basis of the picture test the fear of doctors significantly decreased in the Teddy group (from 18% to 7%) compared with the control group (from 10% to 11%, p<0.05). Drawing analyses also showed that children in the Teddy group had significantly lower levels of medical anxiety (29% and from 19.3 point to 17.6 point) than the control group (19% p<0.05 and from 18.8 point to 18,33 point p<0.05). On the drawings of the Teddy group we found significantly more new medical information (38%) compared with the control group (21%, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS - Medical fears are frequently present among 5-6 year old children, therefore, their prevention is greatly needed. A potential way of the prevention is the “Teddy Bear Hospital” program, which efficiently reduces children's medical fears and anxiety.]

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