Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 3, March 2009

Fear of needles Nature and prevalence in general practice

Simone Wright Kathy Heathcote Garfield Wright Michael Yelland Shu-Kay Ng
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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.
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.
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).

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