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J Child Health Care. 2008 Sep;12(3):191-208. doi: 10.1177/1367493508092519.

Fear in children with cancer: observations at an outpatient visit.

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  • 1Centre for Health Care Sciences, Orebro University Hospital and Institution of Clinical Medicine, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden. agneta.anderzen-karlsson@orebroll.se


The aim of the study was to describe interactions within the family and between them and professionals on a routine visit at a paediatric oncology outpatient clinic where the visiting child was likely to be fearful. Observations were performed. Data were analysed by qualitative content analysis. The behaviours most frequently observed as expressing fear were being quiet, withdrawn or providing detailed descriptions of experiences. Within the theme ;Recognition of the fear', an attentive attitude to the fear was traced; fear was confirmed and cooperation was seen. Although many efforts were made to meet the fear, this was not always successful. Within the theme ;Lack of attention to the fear', the fear was not in focus due to parental worries and concerns about the child's health, and organizational disturbances. The results can serve as a basis for collegial reflections of how to handle fear in children with cancer.

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