Attention, Coping, and Activity in Children Undergoing Orthopaedic Surgery

Lynda L. LaMontagne, Jean E. Johnson, Joseph T. Hepworth, Barbara D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine how children's preoperative focus of attention on the stresses of surgery related to their preoperative coping and return to usual activities during recovery. Children's attention was classified according to three different foci: concrete-objective, emotion, and vague. Children (N = 97) between the ages of 8 and 17 years who were undergoing major orthopaedic surgery participated in the study. Data were collected the day before surgery, and at 3, 6, and 9 months postoperatively. Children who focused on the concrete-objective aspects of surgery had the most positive activity outcomes, followed by the emotion-focused attention group. Children who were classified as having vague focused attentions had the least favorable activity outcomes. When there were significant coping by attention interaction effects, vigilant copers who had a concrete-objective focus of attention had the most favorable activity outcomes at each time of measurement. Children who were able to focus their attention on concrete aspects of the experience tended to use vigilant coping and were able to return to their usual activities sooner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Children's attention
  • Children's coping and outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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