A new study suggests medical procedures, like shots, may be more painful when kids expect a high level of pain.
Although researchers expected the strongest expectation-experience correlation among anxious children, all three groups reacted the same way.
“What we learn is that both healthy and anxious children's experience of pain is influenced by what they are told about it. If we tell them they will experience a lot of pain—or they tell themselves this—they will actually experience more pain and greater negative emotions as a consequence," says Michalska.
So what can parents do? Michalska says the study reinforces the necessity of not "hyping up" painful experiences. Instead, parents should distract children and discourage them from overthinking the experience.