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J Adolesc. 2015 Dec;45:317-26. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

A qualitative study of adolescents with medically unexplained symptoms and their parents. Part 2: How is healthcare perceived?

Author information

1
Research Group on Adolescent Health (GRSA), Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland.
2
Research and Teaching Group on Complementary Medicine, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
Multidisciplinary Adolescent Health Unit (UMSA), Department of Pediatrics (DMCP), Lausanne University Hospital, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland.
4
Research Group on Adolescent Health (GRSA), Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address: joan-carles.suris@chuv.ch.

Abstract

Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are common among adolescents and an important cause of clinical visits. This study sought to understand the experiences with, and perceptions of, the healthcare of adolescents who have MUS and their parents. Using a qualitative approach, six focus groups and two individual interviews were conducted with a total of ten adolescents and sixteen parents. The participants were recruited in a university hospital in Switzerland. A thematic analysis was conducted in accordance with the Grounded Theory. Six main themes emerged: needing a label for the symptoms, seeking an etiology to explain the symptoms, negotiating the medical system, medication and treatments, interactions with doctors, and the inclusion of parents during consultations. Transcending these themes, however, was the need for good communication between the adolescents, their parents and the clinicians. When explaining the symptoms, clinicians should make sure to discuss the results, investigations and lack of organic origin.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Medically unexplained symptoms; Parents; Qualitative research

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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