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March 1958

Psychodynamic Reactions of Children to the Use of Hypodermic Needles: A Study in the Contrast of Uncontrolled and Self-Controlled Emotions

Author Affiliations

From Milwaukee Children's Hospital; Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Marquette University Medical School.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1958;95(3):253-257. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1958.02060050255004

The object of this investigation is the study of the different attitudes and responses of children to the use of hypodermic needles. The designation "hypodermic needles" is chosen in this context to include needles between the gauges of 26 and 19, regardless of whether they were used for intracutaneous, subcutaneous, or intramuscular injection. In not considering size of instrument or route of administration, the whole emphasis of the inquiry as to emotional response was centered on what may be termed the symbol and the substance of "cold steel."

Anyone familar with the methods of preventive medicine as well as with the techniques of parenteral medication has had the experience over and over again, first, that children in varying age groups react differently to the threat of the needle and, second, that persons in the same age group manifest a wide range of psychodynamic response. The advantage of using these more-or-less

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