Health anxiety by proxy - through the eyes of the parents.

Katrine Ingeman*, Ditte Roth Hulgaard, Charlotte Ulrikka Rask


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Health anxiety by proxy is a newly described phenomenon where parents worry excessively that their child suffers from a serious illness. In a former study, six parents with distressing worries about their child's health were interviewed to develop the Health Anxiety by Proxy Scale. The present study is a secondary analysis of these semi-structured interview data using interpretative phenomenological analysis aiming to explore for the first time the lived experience of parents with health anxiety by proxy. Analysis revealed three main themes: 'Faces of distress' describing various aspects of parents' experienced distress; 'Invasive insecurity and mistrust' portraying how anxiety affects parents' relationship with their children, health professionals and family; and 'Making sense of own worries' covering parents' ambivalence regarding their anxiety and rationalization of their worries. Knowledge about perspectives of parents who suffer from health anxiety by proxy can inform communication in clinical encounters where validation of parents' experiences may be key to forging an alliance for further treatment; and to recognising and potentially lowering barriers to receiving help that lies in parents' potential mistrust in professional help.
TidsskriftJournal of Child Health Care
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)22-36
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2024