stress_interv_parents - Journal of C onsulting and Clinical...

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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 1990, Vol. 58, No. 6, 799-804 Copyright 1990 by the American Psychological Association Inc 0022-006X/90/S00.75 A Stress Inoculation Program for Parents Whose Children Are Undergoing Painful Medical Procedures Susan M. Jay University of Southern California Charles H. Elliott Fielding Institute, Santa Barbara, California The efficacy of a stress inoculation intervention program was compared with that of a child focused intervention program in helping parents cope with their children's painful medical proce- dures. Ss included 72 parents (79% mothers) of pediatric leukemia patients (aged 3-12 years) who were undergoing either bone marrow aspirations (n = 28) or lumbar punctures (n = 44). Parents were assessed during a baseline procedure and then were randomly assigned to either a stress inoculation group or a child-focused intervention group. In the child focused intervention, parents merely observed their child's participation in a cognitive behavior therapy program. Assessment of parents included an observation measure of parent behavior, self-reported measures of anxiety and coping, and physiological measures. Results indicate that parents in thestress inoculation program reported lower anxiety scores and higher positive self-statement scores than did parents in the child-focused intervention. Parents who have a child with a diagnosis of cancer face an array of distressing ordeals. These include enduring an often uncertain prognosis and future for their child; dealing with multiple hospitalizations; observing numerous chemotherapy side effects such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, and infections; and providing support for their child as he or she undergoes a variety of medical tests and procedures. Parents report that one of the most difficult of these events is observing their child as he or she is administered bone marrow aspirations (BM As) and lumbar punctures (LPs). BMAs and LPs are routine yet highly painful procedures, which children with cancer undergo doz- ens of times over a period of 3 years or more. Clinical observations of parents' behavior during their child's BMA or LP could lead one to believe that they actually cope with the situation quite well, because little overt distress is ex- pressed. However, a different picture emerges from the inter- view data we collected from parents, as well as from self-re- ported anxiety levels obtained in a previous study (Jay, Ozolins, Elliott, & Caldwell, 1983). These data suggest that accompany- ing one's child during BMAs and LPs can be experienced as highly traumatic. When parents were questioned about their reactions to the procedures, typical statements included (a) "It felt like my heart was being pulled out of me;" (b) "It feels like I'm in a nightmare;" (c) "I wish I could take my child's place, I can't stand watching his pain." Unfortunately, we have contin- ued to see some of these reactions in parents in spite of the now This study was supported by Grant CA3487I from the National
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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stress_interv_parents - Journal of C onsulting and Clinical...

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