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Aust Fam Physician. 2009 Mar;38(3):172-6.

Fear of needles--nature and prevalence in general practice.

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School of Medicine, Griffith University, Logan, Queensland.



The extent to which a fear of needles influences health decisions remains largely unexplored. This study investigated the prevalence of fear of needles in a southeast Queensland community, described associated symptoms, and highlighted health care avoidance tendencies of affected individuals.


One hundred and seventy-seven participants attending an outer urban general practice responded to a questionnaire on fear of needles, symptoms associated with needles and its influence on their use of medical care.


Twenty-two percent of participants reported a fear of needles. Affected participants were more likely than participants with no fear to report vasovagal symptoms, have had a previous traumatic needle experience (46.2 vs. 16.4%, p<0.001) and avoid medical treatment involving needles (20.5 vs. 2.3%, p<0.001).


Fear of needles is common and is associated with health care avoidance. Health professionals could better identify and manage patients who have a fear of needles by recognising associated vasovagal symptoms and past traumatic experiences.

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