The effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing procedure-related pain in children and adolescents: a comprehensive methodological review

Abstract

A comprehensive, methodologically informed review of studies of the effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing procedure-related pain in children and adolescents is provided. To be included in the review, studies were required to use a between-subjects or mixed model design in which hypnosis was compared with a control condition or an alternative intervention in reducing the procedure-related pain of patients younger than age 19. An exhaustive search identified 13 studies satisfying these criteria. Hypnosis was consistently found to be more effective than control conditions in alleviating discomfort associated with bone marrow aspirations, lumbar punctures, voiding cystourethograms, the Nuss procedure, and post-surgical pain. Furthermore, hypnosis was as at least as effective as distraction. Three hypnotic interventions met criteria as a possibly efficacious empirically supported therapy for reducing post-surgical or lumbar puncture pain. Several other hypnotic interventions would have achieved the status of a possibly efficacious therapy had studies used a treatment manual.

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Acknowledgments

This article is based on a psychology honors thesis prepared by Michelle Accardi under the direction of Leonard Milling. Michelle Accardi now attends the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

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Correspondence to Leonard S. Milling.

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Accardi, M.C., Milling, L.S. The effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing procedure-related pain in children and adolescents: a comprehensive methodological review. J Behav Med 32, 328–339 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-009-9207-6

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Keywords

  • Painful medical procedures
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Hypnosis
  • Treatment outcomes
  • Empirically supported therapies