A stress inoculation program for parents whose children are undergoing painful medical procedures

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1990 Dec;58(6):799-804. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.58.6.799.


The efficacy of a stress inoculation intervention program was compared with that of a child focused intervention program in helping parents cope with their children's painful medical procedures. Ss included 72 parents (79% mothers) of pediatric leukemia patients (aged 3-12 years) who were undergoing either bone marrow aspirations (n = 28) or lumbar punctures (n = 44). Parents were assessed during a baseline procedure and then were randomly assigned to either a stress inoculation group or a child-focused intervention group. In the child focused intervention, parents merely observed their child's participation in a cognitive behavior therapy program. Assessment of parents included an observation measure of parent behavior, self-reported measures of anxiety and coping, and physiological measures. Results indicate that parents in the stress inoculation program reported lower anxiety scores and higher positive self-statement scores than did parents in the child-focused intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle / psychology
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / psychology*
  • Lymphoma / psychology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Sick Role*
  • Spinal Puncture / psychology


  • Diazepam