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Childhood hospitalization for psychosocial reasons: the case of gastroenteritis

Childhood hospitalization for psychosocial reasons: the case of gastroenteritis

International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 21(4): 355-368

Nonmedical factors are often important considerations when choosing treatment options for illness. High levels of childhood hospitalization are of concern for psychological as well as medical and economic reasons. This study compared medical and psychosocial attributes of children managed at home or in hospital for childhood gastroenteritis to identify factors differentiating type of care. Parents of children under two years with gastroenteritis managed at home (n = 76) or in hospital (n = 76) were interviewed. Medical details and a range of intra-family factors (e.g., parenting skills, marriage) and extra-family factors (e.g., neighborhood, social contacts) were queried. Doctors (n = 6) rated the severity of symptomatology of each case based only on medical details. There was no difference in the medical severity of the gastroenteritis episodes for hospital and home care groups. Instead families were most clearly differentiated using discriminant analysis by social variables; specifically hospital care families had poorer scores than home care families on social contact indices. This highlights the necessity for focusing on the wider social context in efforts at decreasing the incidence of childhood hospitalization.

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Accession: 039535663

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 1774126

DOI: 10.2190/1llf-9r14-brgf-3q3h

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