The distress associated with radiological investigations may be related to the information and style of parental explanation given to the child and the parents own coping style. In a questionnaire survey we assessed distress in relation to investigations of the urinary tract using the Groningen Distress Rating Scale and the Utrecht Coping List. We found the micturating cystourethrogram (MCUG) to be significantly more distressing than radionuclide investigations. MCUG distress was adversely correlated with passive and palliative parental coping styles. Results suggested that cognitive coping styles modelled by the parents ameliorated distress on dimercaptosuccinic acid scintigraphy.
Conclusion: The high level of MCUG associated distress and presence of traumatised children in the MCUG sample, along with the potential for parental contribution to distress reduction, suggests that both children and parents would benefit from more active preparation programmes prior to MCUG testing.