Pain-sensitive temperament: Does it predict procedural distress and response to psychological treatment among children with cancer?

Edith Chen*, Michelle G. Craske, Ernest R. Katz, Esther Schwartz, Lonnie K. Zeltzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between pain sensitivity and children's distress during lumbar punctures (LPs), and whether pain sensitivity functions as a moderator of children's responses to a psychological intervention aimed at reducing LP distress. Method: Fifty-five children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ages 3 to 18) and their parents completed a questionnaire measure of pain sensitivity. Self-report, physiological, and observed measures of distress were collected during the study baseline LP. Children were then randomized into a psychological intervention or an attention control group. Postintervention and follow-up LPs were observed. Results: Higher levels of pain sensitivity were associated with greater anxiety and pain, both prior to and during the LP. Preliminary analyses indicated that pain sensitivity moderated the effects of intervention on distress. Children who were more pain-sensitive and who received no intervention showed greater increases in LP distress over time. In contrast, children who were more pain-sensitive and who received intervention showed greater decreases in LP distress over time. Conclusions: A measurement of pain sensitivity may be useful in pediatric oncology settings for effectively targeting pain-vulnerable children for psychological intervention. Preliminary analyses indicate that an empirically-supported intervention for procedural distress is efficacious for those children who are most pain-sensitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2000

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Medical procedures
  • Pain
  • Pediatric oncology
  • Procedural distress
  • Psychological intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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