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Qual Health Res. 2012 Sep;22(9):1232-46. doi: 10.1177/1049732312449210. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Divergent views of hope influencing communications between parents and hospital providers.

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  • 1University of North Carolina School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7460, USA.


This study evaluated parents' and health care providers' (HCPs) descriptions of hope following counseling of parents at risk of delivering an extremely premature infant. Data came from a longitudinal multiple case study investigation that examined the decision making and support needs of 40 families and their providers. Semistructured interviews were conducted before and after delivery. Divergent viewpoints of hope were found between parents and many HCPs and were subsequently coded using content analysis. Parents relied on hope as an emotional motivator, whereas most HCPs described parents' notions of hope as out of touch with reality. Parents perceived that such divergent beliefs about the role of hope negatively shaped communicative interactions and reduced trust with some of their providers. A deeper understanding of how varying views of hope might shape communications will uncover future research questions and lead to theory-based interventions aimed at improving the process of discussing difficult news with parents.

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