This study represents a first step in assessing the effectiveness of touch that is unrelated to the execution of the medical procedure (nonessential touch) as a means of reducing children's distress during an invasive cancer procedure. The relation between children's overt distress behaviors and adult use of soothing or neutral nonessential touch during lumbar punctures was assessed in 50 children diagnosed with cancer, their parents, and the nursing staff. Contrary to expectation, results indicate that the nonessential touch of parents was unrelated to children's distress behaviors. However, nurses' provision of soothing and/or neutral nonessential touch was consistently related to lower child distress. A stronger inverse relationship between nurse soothing/neutral nonessential touch and child distress was found for children evidencing high anticipatory distress and young children. Overall, results suggest that nurses' soothing/neutral nonessential touch may be effective in reducing children's distress during an invasive medical procedure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology