Fear of needles can significantly limit professional and social functioning of a person, and is highly prevalent in general population (4%).
The aim of our study was to reveal risk factors that are associated with fear of needles among healthy university students of medicine and pharmacy.
The study was of a cross-sectional type. In total, 301 students of medicine or pharmacy (82% female and 18% male) attending from 1st to 5th year of study were surveyed at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, Serbia. The students were surveyed using a questionnaires (scales) for assessing the fear of needless, a visual analog scale for self-assessment intensity of the fear of needless, and a general questionnaire with questions about socio-demographic characteristics of the participants. Using a score on the scales as out-come variables, multiple regressions were employed to reveal factors that may influence the fear of needles.
Average values of Blood/Injection Fear Scale, Injection Phobia Scale-Anxiety and Medical Avoidance Survey scores were 7.89 ± 9.48, 4.46 ± 5.18 and 89.95 ± 12.73, respectively. The following factors affected significantly the score of the scales: course of study, chronic disease in the family, fear of a dentist, smell of the room phobia, sound phobia, score on the Beck’s anxiety scale and fear of a situation when medical staff give an injection. The presence of chronic disease in the family was a protective factor, while the other six factors were contributing to the fear of needles.
Fear of needles is more prevalent among the students of pharmacy than among the students of medicine. It is less frequent among students with chronic disease in their family, while fear of dentist, smell of the room phobia, sound phobia, general anxiety and fear from the situation when medical staff give an injection are all factors that predispose students of medicine or pharmacy to develop fear of needles.