”Getting confirmation”: Gender in expectations and experiences of healthcare for neck or back patients
Gunilla Stenberg, Anncristine Fjellman-Wiklund, Christina Ahlgren
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore, from a gender perspective, patients’ expectations prior to seeking healthcare for neck or back pain, and their subsequent experiences of the care and rehabilitation they received.
Methods: Thematized interviews with 12 patients, 7 women and 5 men, using open-ended questions, were analysed according to grounded theory. Each patient was interviewed before their first appointment with a physiotherapist or general practitioner and 3 months later.
Results: Analysis resulted in 5 categories: “To be taken seriously”, “Getting an explanation”, “To be invited to participate”, “To be assessed and treated individually”, and “To be taken care of in a trustworthy environment”, which were linked by a core category “Getting confirmation”. Two ideal types were identified: the “Confident” type, characterized by self-confidence and pride, and the “Ambiguous” type, characterized by disparagement and shame. The categories were partly perceived in different ways from the two ideal types. The ideal types were not defined by sex; however, more men were found to be of the “Confident” type and more women of the “Ambiguous” type.
Conclusion: Gender appears to affect expectations and experiences, in addition to how patients view and express their problems. Healthcare professionals should take this into account in consultations.
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