Current Content
Volume 35, Number 5
September/October 2009

Child-Reported Hospital Fears In 4 to 6-Year-Old Children
Marja Salmela
Sanna Salanterä
Eeva Aronen


The aim of this study was to describe hospital-related fears of 4 to 6-year-old children. Data were collected by interviewing 4 to 6-year-old children (N = 90) in Finland, who were chosen through purposive sampling in which volunteers were asked to take part in the study. Data were gathered by semi-structured interview, supported by pictures, and reviewed by quantitative and qualitative methods. Results revealed that more than 90% of children said they were afraid of at least one thing in a hospital. Most fears were categorized by nursing interventions, fears of being a patient, and fears caused by the developmental stage of the child. Children also expressed fears caused by the unfamiliar environment or lack of information, childstaff relations, and the physical, social, and symbolic environment. The main result was that hospital care increased the amount of fears in 4 to 6-year-old children. The information is useful in preventing, identifying, and alleviating the hospital fear of healthy or sick children.