Effects of sensory and procedural information on coping with stressful medical procedures and pain: a meta-analysis

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Jun;57(3):372-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.57.3.372.


A meta-analysis of studies on preparation for medical procedures and pain evaluated the relative effects of sensory; procedural, and combined sensory-procedural preoperational information on coping outcomes. Results indicated that, in contrast to sensory information, procedural information provided no significant benefits over control group instruction. Combined sensory-procedural preparation, however, yielded the strongest and most consistent benefits in terms of reducing negative affect, pain reports, and other-rated distress. The meta-analytic results are consistent with the dual process preparation hypothesis, which proposes that the information combination is optimal because procedural details provide a map of specific events while sensory information facilitates their interpretation as nonthreatening. It is concluded that a combined preparation is the preferred clinical option.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Sensation*
  • Sick Role*