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Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. 2002 Jul-Sep;25(3):151-65.

Parents' assistance to children having immunizations.

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  • 1College Of Nursing, University Of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-5330,USA.


The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine parents' naturally occurring assistive actions when their child received immunizations. Additional purposes included describing the preparation the parent provided to the child prior to the immunization and parents' plans for assistance following the immunization. The convenience sample included 41 parents (or grandparents) of 40 children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years who were receiving routine immunizations at two urban and five rural clinics in the Midwest. Parents were interviewed regarding plans to assist their child before and after immunization; actual parent-child interactions during immunizations were audiotaped. Data were analyzed descriptively; researchers worked in pairs to achieve 100% inter-rater agreement when coding observations into themes. The parents reported using nine psychological preparation strategies (i.e., procedural information, sensory information, relaxation training, telling the child why the procedure was necessary, and role play) to assist their children in the preparatory phase. Three strategies were used both during (procedural information, distraction, and physical contact) and after (physical contact, praise, and rewards) the immunization. Ten children received no preparation for the immunization; nine of these were younger than 3 years of age. The single most reported source of information to parents about helping their child with immunizations was their physician.

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