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ISSN: 2155-6121

Journal of Allergy & Therapy
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Research Article

Understanding Patients? Experiences of Hayfever and its Treatment: A Survey of Illness and Medication Cognitions

Helen Smith1*, Carrie Llewellyn1, Alison Woodcock2, Peter White3 and Anthony Frew4

1Division of Primary Care and Public Health, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK

2Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK

3Nightingale Surgery, Romsey, UK

4Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, UK

*Corresponding Author:
Helen Smith
Division of Primary Care and Public Health
Brighton & Sussex Medical
School, Mayfield House, Falmer Brighton, BN1 9PH, UK
Tel: 01273 644192
Fax: 01273 644440
[email protected]

Received Date: May 14, 2012; Accepted Date: June 23, 2012; Published Date: June 28, 2012

Citation: Smith H, Llewellyn C, Woodcock A, White P, Frew A (2012) Understanding Patients’ Experiences of Hayfever and its Treatment: A Survey of Illness and Medication Cognitions. J Aller Ther S5:008. doi: 10.4172/2155-6121.S5-008

Copyright: ©2012 Smith H, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Although effective medication for hayfever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is available, treatment outcomes are often be poor. Patient beliefs influence outcomes in many other diseases. Assessing patients’ beliefs about their illness and medication may identify targets for intervention to optimize self management and lessen disease impact.

Objective: The application of validated health-related analytical models (Leventhal’s illness representations and Horne’s beliefs about medications) to explore patients’ understanding and experience of hayfever and its treatment.

Methods: Cross-sectional postal questionnaire sent to 20% sample of adults attending four General Practices in South England and prescribed medication for hayfever symptoms in the previous two years. Measures included the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire and the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire.

Results: 316/586 questionnaires were returned (54%). Cluster analysis identified two patient groups; those with negative beliefs (n=132) and those with more positive beliefs about hayfever and its treatment (n=182). Those with negative beliefs were more likely to believe that their hayfever would last for a long time, that they have little personal control over their illness and that their treatment is not effective. Conversely, they reported greater consequences, greater emotional impact, less understanding of hayfever and more medication concerns than those with more positive beliefs.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Patients with hayfever fall into two distinct groups: nearly half (41% of those sampled) have negative beliefs about their condition. Eliciting patient beliefs during the consultation may reveal assumptions that differ from those of healthcare professionals. Such beliefs should be considered when negotiating treatment plans.


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