Medical preparation as an intervention to reduce school age children's medical exam distress in the primary healthcare setting

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University of Alabama Libraries

Children frequently experience anxiety when in a medical setting, which can have both short and long term negative psychological consequences. To reduce these negative repercussions, medial preparation programs have been developed to address and avoid procedural fear and anxiety in the pediatric population. These medical preparation programs have also been shown to counteract short term anxieties and possible long term negative effects. While most medical preparation programs are aimed at hospital patients, the current study targeted school age children visiting a pediatrician at a university clinic. The purpose of this study was to determine whether receiving medical preparation by a Certified Child Life Specialist resulted in less anxiety, fear, and procedural distress for children visiting a pediatrician compared to children who did not receive preparation. Thirty-six pediatric patients, ages 5 1/2-12 years of age, were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group receiving medical preparation by a Certified Child Life Specialist (experimental group), and the other group spent time watching an age appropriate video on animal life (control group). The medical preparation group showed decreased levels of fear and anxiety, while the unprepared children in the control group showed higher levels of anxiety.

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