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J Adolesc. 2015 Dec;45:307-16. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.10.010. Epub 2015 Oct 31.

A qualitative study of adolescents with medically unexplained symptoms and their parents. Part 1: Experiences and impact on daily life.

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 are frequently encountered in primary care. Our aim was to explore how these adolescents and their parents experience the condition and its impact on their daily lives and to provide recommendations for health professionals. Using a qualitative approach, six focus groups and two individual interviews were conducted. These involved a total of ten adolescents with different types of MUS and sixteen parents. The respondents were recruited in a university hospital in Switzerland. A thematic analysis was conducted according to the Grounded Theory. The analysis of the data highlighted four core themes: disbelief, being different, concealing symptoms, and priority to adolescent's health. Transcending these themes was a core issue regarding the discrepancy between the strategies that adolescents and their parents use to cope with the symptoms. Health professionals should be made aware of the emotional needs of these patients and their families.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Medically unexplained symptoms; Parents; Qualitative research

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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