Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Containing acute childhood illness within family life: a grounded theory

Neill, S. (2008) Containing acute childhood illness within family life: a grounded theory. Paper presented to: European Academy of Paediatrics, Nice, France, October 2008. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: Objective: To present the grounded theory of ‘containing acute childhood illness within family life’ and discuss its implications for family care. Methods: Glaserian grounded theory qualitative study comprised of 24 in-depth family interviews with 15 families. QRS NVivo software was used to facilitate constant comparative analysis and the generation of the grounded theory. Results: This doctoral qualitative study shows that acute childhood illness at home is often distressing for children and their families. Families strive to ‘do the right thing’ for their child, and, in response to perceived informal social rules, to ‘contain acute childhood illness within family life’ – the core category. Illnesses which they are expected to contain are those defined as minor or normal, whilst illness the family defines as ‘real’ are those for which medical help should be sought. Informal social rules are learnt through ‘felt or enacted criticism’ during parent’s encounters with others, in childcare, education and health services, when their children are ill - perceived as a threat to parents’ moral status. Consequently parents take action to avoid exposure to such negative scrutiny, sometimes resulting in late consultation. Families appear to be responding to the pervading culture of individualism within society, containing their difficulties – in this case their child’s illness – within the immediate family group. Conclusions: The findings indicate a need to develop professionals’ skills in facilitating family care, reducing the incidence of felt or enacted criticism, and the ‘hidden anxiety’ for families when seeking help for a sick child.
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ245 Nursing of children. Pediatric nursing
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Creators: Neill, Sarah
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Health & Society > Nursing
Faculties > Faculty of Health & Society > Nursing
Date: October 2008
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: European Academy of Paediatrics
Event Dates: October 2008
Event Location: Nice, France
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished

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