It is commonly recognized that hospitalized children need psychological support and preparation for painful procedures. It is probable that little thought is given by hospital personnel to a similar preparation of the child for non-painful procedures. This study attempted to evaluate the distress incurred by children subjected to non-painful hospital procedures with little or no preparation. The procedure of x-ray was selected as being common and typical. The method used was the descriptive survey. The tools used were the taking of a series of six blood pressure readings per child, the administration of two forms of a short psychological test (digit span), and a process recording of observations made of the child before and during the procedure. Elevation of the blood pressure just before x-ray, lowering of score on the second psychological test, and the occurrence of behavior commonly regarded as showing apprehension and fear, were regarded as evidence of distress. The subjects were twenty children aged five to nine, inclusive, hospitalized on the pediatric wards of a large county hospital. To evaluate the effect on blood pressure readings and on test performance of the tools themselves, blood pressure readings and tests were carried out on twelve children (control group) from the same ward as the subjects. The control group showed greater variability of blood pressure than the subject group. The variability may have been related to environmental happenings such as injections and vena-punctures rather than to the repeated taking of blood pressure. Of the twenty children going to x-ray, 70 per cent showed evidence of some distress but no child exhibited marked distress or panic. Data showed that children from large families, from the older age group, and having a medical diagnosis were least likely to show distress. The child most likely to show distress was one from a small family, belonging to the younger age group, with a surgical diagnosis. With so small a sample, results are suggestive of trends rather than conclusive.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Winifred Edwards

Second Advisor

Willis King

Third Advisor

Betty Trubey

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Child, Hospitalized; Psychology, Child; Radiography -- in infancy & childhood



Page Count

viii; 133

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives