Background Uncertainty in illness implies no meaning has been attributed to an illness event. Although many studies focus on this issue in adults, there is limited research into children with chronic illnesses. Parental uncertainty has been associated with increased risk of post-traumatic stress, which can in turn adversely affect child and parent coping strategies.
Aim To identify the characteristics of parents who are at greater risk of uncertainty and the associated characteristics of their children’s chronic illnesses.
Method An exploratory, cross-sectional study design was adopted across three different sites in the United Arab Emirates. Data were collected from parents who accompanied their children, who were receiving treatment, using a validated, culturally adapted Parent Perception of Uncertainty Scale.
Results Scores for illness uncertainty ranged from 86.5 to 92.6, on a scale of 31-155, with higher scores indicating greater uncertainty. The highest scores were found in parents of children being cared for in ward settings who had previously been hospitalised, parents of children up to two years of age or those approaching adolescence, fathers, and parents whose first language was Arabic.
Conclusion The groups of parents with the highest illness uncertainty may benefit most from interventions to improve communication and psychological support.
Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2019.e1102Peer review
This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Al-Yateem N, Brenner M, Alrimawi I et al (2019) Predictors of uncertainty in parents of children living with chronic conditions. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2019.e1102
Published online: 19 February 2019
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