Can reassurance hurt?
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Can you remember how many times your dentist has reassured you, for example, during an anaesthetic injection? Do you suspect that the phrase from the dentist ‘It won’t hurt’ only serves as a warning that it is going to be painful, even though the dentist appears very genuine in their remark? Have you tried to reassure your child or a family member, for example, in the waiting room before an injection? Perhaps you wonder whether the ‘don’t worry’ type of reassurance has much of an effect in reducing the anxiety of your loved ones. As you do your best to promote comfort or reduce distress, maybe you ponder whether it would be more effective to use reassuring statements more frequently, over a longer period of time or at key moments? What other factors might influence the effect of reassurance provision to reduce patient anxiety? For example, does reassurance benefit only the anxious rather than the non-anxious child? Will the nature of the procedure (painful or non-painful) make a difference? These questions form the focus of this article. We will review the evidence on the counterintuitive link between adult reassurance and child distress from the pain management literature to procedures of a less aversive nature. We will also highlight the latest research including appropriate timing of reassurance provision in reducing child distress.
Zhou , Y & Humphris , G M 2014 , ' Can reassurance hurt? ' Psychologist , vol 27 , no. 11 , pp. 842-845 .
© 2014. The British Psychological Society. This is the accepted version of the following article: Can reassurance hurt? Zhou, Y. & Humphris, G. M. Nov 2014 In : Psychologist. 27, 11, p. 842-845, which has been published in final form at http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-27/edition-11/can-reassurance-hurt
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