Citation Caes L, Goubert L, Devos P, Verlooy J, Benoit Y & Vervoort T (2014) The relationship between parental catastrophizing about child pain and distress in response to medical procedures in the context of childhood cancer treatment: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39 (7), pp. 677-686. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsu034
Children with leukemia frequently undergo invasive medical procedures, such as lumbar punctures (LPs) and bone marrow aspirations (BMAs). To date, cross-sectional evidence indicates that LP/BMA procedures continue to elicit distress over the course of treatment in children and parents.
The current study used prospective analyses investigating in 28 children diagnosed with leukemia, the course of parental and child distress when confronted with consecutive LP/BMA procedures and potential moderation by catastrophic thinking. Parents' level of catastrophic thoughts was assessed before the first treatment-related LP/BMA, while child and parent distress was reported on after each LP/BMA procedure.
Whereas parental distress decreased over time among low catastrophizing parents, LP/BMA procedures remained highly distressing for high catastrophizing parents. Child distress during LP/BMA procedures increased over time and was positively related with parental distress.
These findings stress the importance of targeting child and parent distress as early as possible in treatment.