The Gregor Effect: Impediments To Providing Care By Nurses and Significant Others Who Experience a Negative Reaction To The Patient's Condition

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Nursing and Public Health




Drury, J., Bailey, M., Blackmore, A., & Maltby, H. J. (2003). The Gregor Effect: impediments to providing care by nurses and significant others who experience a negative reaction to the patient's condition. Asian Journal of Nursing Studies, 6(3), 21-28.


More needs to be known about the concept of providing care for a patient with a condition that stimulates a negative reaction in nurses or significant others providing care. It is argued that caregivers of patients with deformities or incapacities may experience a "Gregor Effect". This consists of the care-givers experiencing disturbing or ambiguous responses similar to those described by Kafka (1936) in his novel about a family whose son, Gregor, was transformed into a cockroach. This pilot study used a quantitative design to determine the extent to which nurses perceived this effect as occurring in themselves and the extent to which these negative responses impeded the provision of care. This was combined with a qualitative component to enable the 69 respondents to add further comments. Only one respondent questioned the existence of the Gregor Effect and results indicated that respondents reported perceiving the Gregor Effect in themselves. Respondents also indicated that the Gregor Effect was significantly more likely to impede the provision of care for the patient's psychological, social, and spiritual needs, rather than physical needs. The study has provided a source of recommendations for future clinical research and education needs.

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