The impact of chronic non-specific cough on children and their families

Gill Waring, Susan Kirk, Debbie Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Introduction: Children with a chronic non-specific cough have a persistent cough without a confirmed diagnosis. Currently little is known about families living with a chronic non-specific cough. While quantitative studies have suggested chronic cough may affect the quality of life of children and families, there has been no in depth examination of family experience.

Aim: To develop a theory to explain how families experience and manage living with a chronic non-specific cough.

Methods: A qualitative study, using a constructivist grounded theory approach. Data was collected through in depth interviews with twenty families. Parents and children were identified via paediatricians and otolaryngogologists in children's outpatient departments in a district general hospital and a tertiary children's hospital in the United Kingdom.

Results: A theoretical framework to explain the social process that families experienced was developed consisting of the main category 'going around in circles' with four subcategories; 'the cough and its consequences', 'trying to gain control', 'searching for an answer' and 'starting back at the beginning'. Families experienced feelings of sustained uncertainty, hope and despair during the day and the night time, socially and throughout the ongoing diagnostic process.

Conclusion: This study provides an in depth understanding of the views and perspectives of children and their parents living with a chronic non-specific cough. The findings may assist in ensuring appropriate care and reassurance are given to families, help shape the delivery and organisation of services to children with a chronic non-specific cough in the future and also assist in the development of more robust QOL measures in this area
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPA1339
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue numberS62
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventThe European Respiratory Conference - Paris, France
Duration: 15 Sep 201819 Sep 2018


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