Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lindsey L. Cohen

Second Advisor

Jill M. Chorney

Third Advisor

Erin Tully

Abstract

Children undergoing surgical procedures often experience pain in the recovery room where parents are typically responsible for managing children’s distress. Research suggests that parents’ behavior influences children’s distress; however, no study has used time-window sequential analysis to examine the likelihood of parents’ reassurance and children’s distress interactions. The purpose of this study was to utilize time-window sequential analysis to examine the likelihood of parents’ distress preceding and following the start of children’s distress. Participants included 148 families with children 2-11 years old undergoing outpatient surgery. Reassurance was positively associated with children’s distress, but sequential analyses revealed that children’s nonverbal distress was significantly less likely to start and stop following parents’ reassurance and children’s verbal distress was significantly less likely to occur after fathers’ reassurance. These data suggest that reassurance does not prompt distress to start; however, it may maintain children’s distress.

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