Prediction of children's postoperative pain: the role of presurgical expectations and anticipatory emotions.
Several studies in the last decade have demonstrated the importance of considering an information seeking versus information avoiding coping dimension in adult medical patients. However, there have been few empirical demonstrations of such a dimension in children. The present study utilized the Coping Strategies Interview to assign an information seeking score to child elective surgery patients. This information seeking score was related to several parent-rated variables, including the child's historical success in coping with medical procedures, the child's typical preference for information acquisition, and the child's typically emitted coping behaviors. In addition, the information seeking score was related to question asking and discussion of medical procedures as rated by an objective observer during the blood test, by the nurse during anesthesia induction, and by the parent during recovery from surgery. It was strongly related to the information acquired prior to hospitalization. Information seeking was also related to stress responses, such that high information seeking scores predicted more adaptive behaviors prior to the blood test. This cross-rater and cross-situation validation suggests the existence of an information seeking dimension in children and the utility of considering this dimension in future research.