The information needs and preferred roles in treatment decision-making of parents caring for infants with atopic dermatitis: a qualitative study

Allergy. 2005 Jul;60(7):938-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00776.x.


Background: Information needs and preferences in treatment decision-making of parents caring for infants with atopic dermatitis (AD) are unknown, despite emphasis on quality information-giving and involvement of health-care users in treatment decisions.

Objective: To explore information needs and decisional role-preferences of parents caring for infants with AD.

Methods: Qualitative study. Purposive sample: 31 parents caring for infants with AD. Tape-recorded focussed conversation-style interviews. Interview topic-guide literature-derived. Control Preferences Scale (5 sort-card vignettes 'very active' to 'very passive' role) adapted for use with parents; used to facilitate discussion. Thematic analysis of verbatim transcripts.

Results: Nine core information needs identified: AD-causation, role of diet, medication-use, medication-side-effects, exacerbating factors, new/alternative medication, nonpharmacological treatments, AD-prevention, AD and other atopic conditions. Parents desired verbal and written information. Many felt their baby's condition was not taken seriously, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. They had to be more active than they wished to obtain information/treatment. Parents preferred sharing decisions with their doctor.

Conclusions: Parents caring for infants with AD have clearly defined, unmet information needs, forcing them into more active roles in the treatment decision-making process than they desire. The study-findings may inform the development of written information specifically for these parents and improve partnership during consultations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers
  • Decision Making
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Role