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J Pediatr Psychol. 2012 Sep;37(8):935-44. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss066. Epub 2012 May 9.

A longitudinal examination of verbal reassurance during infant immunization: occurrence and examination of emotional availability as a potential moderator*.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M3J 1P3. rpr@yorku.ca



This study investigated the associations between caregiver verbal reassurance and infant pain-related distress during immunization over the first year of life. The relationships between verbal reassurance and caregiver emotional availability (EA) were also examined. Finally, EA was investigated as a moderator of the relationship between verbal reassurance and infant pain.


A cross-sectional analysis was conducted with 606 infants (and their parents) at 4 different ages (n = 376 at 2 months, n = 455 at 4 months, n = 484 at 6 months, and n = 407 at 12 months).


Verbal reassurance was positively associated with infant distress across all four ages. EA was only negatively related to verbal reassurance at 12 months of age. EA was not a significant moderator at any age.


Findings demonstrate consistent but small relationships between verbal reassurance and infant pain over the first year of life.

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