Mother-child patterns of coping with anticipatory medical stress.

  • Bush J
  • Melamed B
  • Sheras P
 et al. 
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Studied maternal influences on children's fear and coping behaviors during a medical examination in a pediatric outpatient clinic, using a dyadic prestressor interaction scale to measure anticipatory reactions just prior to contact with the physician. Analysis of 50 mother–child dyads, including children aged 4–10 yrs, revealed that the behaviors emitted by mother and child are likely to influence the child's ability to tolerate the medical experience. Maternal use of distraction and low rates of ignoring were associated with lower child distress and increased prosocial behaviors. Children's active exploration of the situation was more likely to occur when mothers provided their children with information, and it was less likely when mothers reassured their children. Maternal reassurance of children and overt maternal agitation were associated with more maladaptive child responses. Age trends were also found in interactive patterns. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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