Fear of needles: nature and prevalence in general practice
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BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). DISCUSSION: 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.
Australian Family Physician
© 2009 Australian Family Physician. Reproduced with permission. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the publisher, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Primary Health Care