This clinical experiment tested variations of psychological preparation and supportive care designed to increase the adjustment of children (and their parents) hospitalized for elective surgery. Eighty-four children, aged 3 to 12, admitted for tonsillectomies were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions or to a control group: (1) a combination of systematic preparation, rehearsal, and supportive care conducted prior to each stressful procedure; (2) a single-session preparation conducted after admission; and (3) consistent supportive care given by one nurse at the same points as in the first condition, but including no systematic preparation or rehearsal.
The children's hospital adjustment was measured by blind ratings of behavioral upset and cooperation during the blood test, medication injection, transport to surgery, induction, and postoperative fluid intake and by recovery room medications and pulse rates and time to first voiding. Post-hospital adjustment was assessed with Vernon et al.'s Post Hospital Behavior Inventory. Parent outcome measures included self-ratings for anxiety and satisfaction with information and care. As hypothesized, the results demonstrated that children who received condition one showed significantly less upset and more cooperation and their parents reported significantly greater satisfaction and less anxiety than did children or parents in the other groups. Younger children were significantly more upset and less cooperative than older children.
- Received July 26, 1974.
- Accepted October 10, 1974.
- Copyright © 1975 by the American Academy of Pediatrics