Dealing with parental concerns: A study of GPs' practice

Caroline Dorothea Poulsen* (Corresponding Author), Philip Wilson, Anette Hauskov Graungaard, Gritt Overbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To investigate patterns of GPs’ exploration and termination of dialogues about parental concerns in preventive child health assessments.
Methods: Interactional microanalysis of video recordings of 32 preventive child health assessments using conversation analysis.
Results: The GPs asked parents about concerns, but most concerns disclosed by parents were still left unexplored at the end of the consultation. Termination of dialogues about concerns could be achieved effectively by GPs through letting the biomedical agenda dominate or addressing the child directly. The parents generally cooperated with the various approaches to handling concerns.
Conclusion: GPs displayed initial attentiveness towards emotional concerns but did not always follow through with subsequent exploration; many concerns raised were left unexplored. However, the same GP could employ both non-exploratory and exploratory practice within individual consultations.
Practice implications: Preventive child heath assessments offer an opportunity for parents to raise concerns about their children’s development. Improved understanding of the conversational mechanisms through which concerns are examined or sidelined could allow clinicians to maximise the effectiveness of their preventive consultations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2430-2436
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number12
Early online date5 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by Lundbeckfonden and Trygfonden.


  • child health services
  • preventive health services
  • parent-provider communication
  • conversation analysis
  • psychosocial well-being


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