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Exploring general practitioners' experiences of identifying and managing childhood obesity

Sager, D 2014, Exploring general practitioners' experiences of identifying and managing childhood obesity , DProf thesis, College of Health and Social Care.

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National policies (DoH, 2008; 2011) propose a clear role for GPs in responding to the increase in childhood obesity, despite a limited evidence base which would secure such an emphasis. Previous research has indicated multiple barriers to the engagement of GPs in this clinical activity due to the sensitivities of the subject, low levels of role competence and confidence and limited access to specialist services. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, this study explored how GPs made sense of their experiences of identifying and managing childhood obesity in order to provide a unique insight into these professional behaviours. Retrospective semi-structured interviews were carried out with ten GPs,who had been in practice for over 25 years. Four themes emerged. The first ‘understanding the family’ demonstrated how the GPs utilised their knowledge of the family’s health beliefs, motivations, skills, and wider socio economic factors to compile a unique understanding of the family which framed their responses to the obese child. The second ‘flexibility and responsiveness’ explored how this complex knowledge of the family was used to negotiate and address the different physical and emotional needs of the child. The third theme ‘professional and individual dilemmas’ explored areas of professional uncertainty, the identification of perceived legitimate role boundaries and the personal belief systems of the GPs regarding childhood obesity. The final theme ‘organisational challenges’ highlighted how time pressures, competing priorities, and structural constraints challenged their abilities to provide effective responses. An extended explanatory insight is provided by exploring the GPs’ dominant epistemological framework which resulted in the identification of 4 role types, using Laws et al., (2009) theoretical framework. The role types are considered in relation to the GPs’ professional identities and their contextual responses to the child and family. The research concludes with practical recommendations for service improvement at the practitioner, commissioner and national policy level.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Contributors: Dugdill, L (Supervisor)
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences Research
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: D Sager
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2014 16:59
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2014 09:42

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