Meta-analysis of hypnosis and biofeedback pain control with children, adolescents and young adults

Gaston Weisz, Pace University


The effective application of hypnosis and biofeedback for pain and anxiety control with both adults and children is an area which has shown great promise in the research literature. However, a number of investigators have indicated relative weaknesses both in the amount and in the methodological quality of such studies with children. The current study investigated the issues related to treatment efficacy in child, adolescent and young adult pain and anxiety control with the treatments of hypnosis and biofeedback. The study applied the research approach of meta-analysis, investigating aggregated archival data both to test treatment efficacy and to explore moderator effects as a function of a number of relevant variables. The hypotheses of the study were investigated by evaluating if hypnosis was effective in contrast to non-hypnosis, if biofeedback was effective in contrast to non-biofeedback, and if the two treatments were different in their effects. Additional moderator variables, consisting of both methodological and substantive factors, were explored. Overall, treatments were effective in pain and anxiety reduction, and some moderator variables were found to influence outcomes. Hypnosis and biofeedback, overall, were equally effective, with effect sizes of.42 and.43 respectively. Differences between the treatments occurred within some of the group comparisons, as a function of moderator variables. Information regarding the existence of bias and inequitable distribution of data within certain comparison groupings were noted. Significant variables moderating outcome were found for the type of design, age band and type of treatment. Implications of the findings of this study apply to issues of treatment usage and research methods. The use of hypnosis and biofeedback to manage pain and anxiety with youngsters at various ages was supported by the results. Information about methodological factors, such as the impact of design, sampling and measurement instruments, were assessed. Investigators may wish to attend to the methodological variables which might distort or reduce the size of obtained effects. Investigators may also note the areas not explored sufficiently when deciding upon future study in the area. Treatment evaluators may use some of the findings as an aid in constructing guidelines for assessment. Psychologists working with children can potentially provide a very useful service if equipped with appropriate information and training in pain reduction procedures.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Physiological psychology|Psychotherapy

Recommended Citation

Weisz, Gaston, "Meta-analysis of hypnosis and biofeedback pain control with children, adolescents and young adults" (1991). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9132945.



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