Parental attitudes toward medicine use in children in Finland

  • Katri Hämeen-AnttilaEmail author
  • Pirjo Halonen
  • Sanna Siponen
  • Miina Holappa
  • Riitta Ahonen
Research Article


Objective The aim was to describe parental attitudes towards medicine use in children, and the factors associated with them. Setting A cross-sectional population survey of a random sample of children under 12 years of age (n = 6,000) was carried out in Finland in the spring of 2007, with a response rate of 67%. Method A questionnaire was sent to their parents. A Principal Component Analysis was conducted for the attitudinal scale to determine parental attitudes. Main outcome measure An attitudinal scale including 21 items on five-point Likert scale was used to determine parental attitudes towards medicines. Results Five principal components with 18 statements explained parental attitudes: General attitude towards medicines, Attitude towards prescription medicines, Attitude towards OTC medicines, Attitude towards the risks of medicines, and Attitude towards long-term use of pain-killers. These components were internally consistent and explained 54.7% of the total variance. Of the respondents, 15% were cautious towards medicine use, 84% agreed that prescription medicines are safe and effective, whereas 49% thought so about OTC medicines. Of the respondents, 69% were worried about the risks of medicines, especially parents older than 46 years, with a low level of education, who used medicinal herbs themselves, and had a child with a long-term illness. Moreover, 46% of the respondents were worried about the long-term use of pain-killers. Conclusion This population based study showed that the parental attitudes toward prescription medicines and toward OTC medicines are different: many parents consider prescription medicines as safe and effective, less think so of OTC medicines. A considerable proportion of parents had worries about side effects and interactions. This stresses the need to address these topics in encounters with parents.


Attitude Finland Medicine use Parents Survey 



No external funding was obtained to conduct this population survey. All the work was done at the School of Social Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland. The costs have been covered by the School.

Conflicts of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katri Hämeen-Anttila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pirjo Halonen
    • 2
  • Sanna Siponen
    • 3
  • Miina Holappa
    • 3
  • Riitta Ahonen
    • 3
  1. 1.Finnish Medicines AgencyHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Centre for Information and Learning Resource ServicesUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  3. 3.School of PharmacyUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland

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