Hypnotic versus active cognitive strategies for alleviation of procedural distress in pediatric oncology patients

Am J Clin Hypn. 1989 Jan;31(3):181-91. doi: 10.1080/00029157.1989.10402887.


This study provided a differential comparison of the efficacy of standardized instruction in hypnosis or active cognitive strategy for provision of relief from procedurally induced pain and anxiety. Subjects were instructed to self-direct in the use of strategies during medical procedures. Twenty pediatric oncology patients participated in the study. They were not informed that hypnosis was one of the strategies. Subjects were screened for hypnotizability and randomly assigned to treatments. Demographic data were collected. Pre-strategy training observations were made during a Bone Marrow Aspiration or Lumbar Puncture (BMA/LP) using visual analog scales, the McGill Pain Questionnaire, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, pulse and temperature readings, and interview. Following strategy training, data were collected during a second BMA/LP using the same measures as employed pre-intervention. Results indicated that both strategies were effective in providing pain reduction. Neither technique provided for anxiety reduction. Hypnotizability scale scores failed to correlate with degree of pain reduction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy, Needle / psychology
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis, Anesthetic*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Sick Role*
  • Spinal Puncture / psychology