Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Parents’ help-seeking behaviours during acute childhood illness at home: a contribution to explanatory theory

Neill, S., Jones, C. H. D., Lakhanpaul, M., Roland, D. T. and Thompson, M. J. (2016) Parents’ help-seeking behaviours during acute childhood illness at home: a contribution to explanatory theory. Journal of Child Health Care. 20(1), pp. 77-86. 1367-4935.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: Uncertainty and anxiety surround parents’ decisions to seek medical help for an acutely ill child. Consultation rates for children are rising, yet little is known about factors that influence parents’ help-seeking behaviours. We used focus groups and interviews to examine how 27 parents of children under five years, from a range of socioeconomic groups in the East Midlands of England, use information to make decisions during acute childhood illness at home. This article reports findings elucidating factors that influence help-seeking behaviours. Parents reported that decision-making during acute childhood illness was influenced by a range of personal, social and health service factors. Principal among these was parents’ concern to do the right thing for their child. Their ability to assess the severity of the illness was influenced by knowledge and experience of childhood illness. When parents were unable to access their general practitioner (GP), feared criticism from or had lost trust in their GP, some parents reported using services elsewhere such as Accident and Emergency. These findings contribute to explanatory theory concerning parents’ help-seeking behaviours. Professional and political solutions have not reduced demand; therefore, collaborative approaches involving the public and professionals are now needed to improve parents’ access to information.
Additional Information: A pre-publication version of this article was made available electronically by the publisher on 08 October 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords: Acute illness, childhood, help-seeking behaviour, parents, safety netting
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ370 Diseases of children and adolescents
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Creators: Neill, Sarah, Jones, Caroline H D, Lakhanpaul, Monica, Roland, Damian T and Thompson, Matthew J
Publisher: SAGE
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Centre for Family Life
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Health & Society > Nursing
Faculties > Faculty of Health & Society > Nursing
Research Centres > Centre for Health Sciences and Services
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 1 March 2016
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 77-86
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Child Health Care
Volume: 20
Number: 1
Language: English
ISSN: 1367-4935
Status: Published / Disseminated
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