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Behav Res Ther. 2002 Sep;40(9):1003-15.

Coping with the stress of a painful medical procedure.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


To evaluate its effect on procedure-related distress, the focus of attention was manipulated by providing training to hospitalized acute burn patients (n=42). Participants were randomly assigned to attention focusing (i.e. attending to procedural sensations) or music distraction (i.e. attention diverting) coping interventions, or to usual care during the target dressing change. Coping behavior (i.e. distraction, focusing, and three confounding methods, ignoring, catastrophizing, reinterpreting), tension and intrusiveness were evaluated 24 h retrospectively (i.e. for the prior procedure), during the targeted procedure, and 30 min after the target procedure. When coping during the target procedure by ignoring, reinterpreting, and catastrophizing were covaried, the music distraction group experienced significantly fewer intrusions, and the attention focus group had more intrusions. Additionally, secondary analyses revealed that coping by ignoring during the prior day's procedure significantly predicted higher procedural tension during, and more intrusions following, the targeted procedure. Suppression-based forms of emotion-focused coping may be enhanced by training in the use of an explicit distractor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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