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Pain Research and Management
Volume 14 (2009), Issue 3, Pages 233-237
Original Article

Anxiety Influences Children’s Memory for Procedural Pain

Elizabete M Rocha,1 Tammy A Marche,2 and Carl L von Baeyer2

1Department of Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
2University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of temperament and trait anxiety on memory for pain.

METHODS: Three dimensions of temperament, as well as trait anxiety, were assessed in 36 children (five to 12 years of age) undergoing dental procedures; after the procedure, the children provided pain ratings. Following a six- to eight-week delay, the children reported how much pain they remembered.

RESULTS: Most children (85%) accurately recalled their pain. Temperament had no significant effect, but trait-anxious children showed a greater likelihood of recalling more pain than they initially reported, suggesting that they may negatively distort recollections of painful experiences.

CONCLUSIONS: When treating children, in particular trait-anxious children, clinicians should consider what children remember as part of pain management intervention.