Psychosocial intervention on procedure-related distress in children being treated for laceration repair

Barbara Gursky, Lisa P. Kestler, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: Research has demonstrated that emergency department visits for injured children are highly stressful experiences, especially when they include a painful procedure. This pilot study explored the impact of an intervention, which included preparation and distraction on procedure-related distress in children treated for laceration repair in the emergency department. Method: Distress and parent ratings of satisfaction were compared between children who received individualized preparation and distraction interventions for laceration repair provided by a child life specialist and children who received no intervention. Twenty-four subjects, aged 3 to 13 yr, were recruited from a pediatric emergency department within a university medical center. Patients receiving the intervention were provided with preprocedure age appropriate information relating to the laceration repair and distraction during the procedure. Results: Results showed that children who received psychosocial intervention had lower observed distress behaviors during suturing compared with patients who did not receive the intervention. Results also showed that parents of patients who received the intervention perceived less distress in their children and rated their overall care significantly higher. Conclusion: These findings have significant implications for children's health care and supporting family needs when a child enters the emergency department.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-222
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Child life
  • Pediatric education
  • Psychosocial intervention


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