Title: Pain catastrophizing influences the use and the effectiveness of distraction in schoolchildren
Authors: Verhoeven, Katrien ×
Goubert, L
Jaaniste, T
Van Ryckeghem, D. M. L
Crombez, G #
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain
Series Title: European Journal of Pain vol:16 issue:2 pages:256-267
Abstract: Distraction is an intuitive way of coping with pain and is often used in children’s pain treatment programs.
However, empirical evidence concerning the effectiveness of distraction is equivocal. One potential
explanation might be that distraction does not work for everyone in every situation. In the current
series of studies, we examined the role of pain catastrophizing as an influencing factor of distraction
effectiveness. In the first study, we investigated the use of pain coping strategies (including distraction)
in schoolchildren (N = 828, aged 8–18 years) by means of a questionnaire. Results indicated that children
with higher levels of pain catastrophizing reported using less distraction strategies in daily life than children
with lower levels of pain catastrophizing. In the second study, a subsample (N = 81, aged 9–18 years)
performed a painful cold pressor task (CPT) (12 C). Participants were randomly assigned to a distraction
group, in which an attention-demanding tone-detection task was performed during the CPT, or a control
group, in which no distraction task was performed. Results showed that participants in the distraction
group were engaged in the distraction task, and reported to have paid less attention to pain than
participants in the control group. However, distraction was ineffective in reducing cold pressor pain,
and even intensified the pain experience in high catastrophizing children. Caution may be warranted
in using distraction as a ‘one size fits all’ method, especially in high catastrophizing children.
ISSN: 1090-3801
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

Files in This Item:
File Description Status SizeFormat
Verhoeven et al. 2011 distraction and catastrophizing.pdf Published 371KbAdobe PDFView/Open Request a copy

These files are only available to some KU Leuven Association staff members


All items in Lirias are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.

© Web of science