Maternal presence, childrearing practices, and children's response to an injection


  • Dr. Marion E. Broome,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612
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    • Marion E. Broome, PhD, RN, is an associate professor and the assistant chairperson of the Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Richard C. Endsley

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    • Richard C. Endsley, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Development—McPhaul Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Dr. Broome was director of the Center for Nursing Research at the Medical College of Georgia when this study was completed. The present report is part of a larger investigation of a variety of variables affecting children's response to an immunization, funded partially by the Beta Omicron Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau.


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of maternal presence or absence and childrearing practices on young children's response to an injection. One hundred thirty-eight mothers and their children, who were attending a health screening clinic, were assigned to one of four groups in which mothers were either present or absent during an interview and an immunization. Mothers were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their childrearing practices. Child behavior was observed during both the interview and the immunization. Results indicated that while maternal presence was associated with the children behaving more distressed during the interview, maternal presence had no effect on child behavior during the immunization. Children whose mothers reported high levels of both control and warmth in their relationship (authoritative parents) were found to be significantly less distressed during the immunization than children of either the low-control, high-warmth (permissive), high-control, low-warmth (authoritarian) or low-control, low-warmth (nonresponsive) parent groups.