Coping by children undergoing stressful medical procedures: some conceptual, methodological, and therapeutic issues

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Jun;57(3):380-7. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.57.3.380.


Because coping is postulated to change across persons, time, and stressors, the study of coping is inherently complex. These complexities are magnified in children's coping because a child's ability to effectively appraise a stressor and the coping resources that are available is dependent on the child's rapidly shifting developmental level. A small set of recent pediatric psychology studies describes children's active, informative-seeking coping versus avoidant or information-denying coping as an example of current trends in research on children's coping. Review of these studies highlights the need for tighter, more complete conceptualizations and improved methodologies. There are many therapeutic implications of this research, not the least of which is the problem of how (or even if) avoidant children should be prepared for medical procedures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Personality Development
  • Sick Role*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Therapeutics / psychology*