C Meghan McMurtry

Children's Health & Therapeutics Dr. Meghan McMurtry
Associate Scientist


Associate Scientist, Division of Children's Health & Therapeutics, Children's Health Research Institute
Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Guelph

How does my research help children?

The aim of my research is to reduce the amount of pain and fear that children experience.  For example, children report needles to be one of their most feared and painful experiences: much of my work focuses on how we can help children in this context (e.g., How can we interact with children during needles in ways to help them cope?  How do we understand/measure what they are feeling?  What are important factors in fear of needles and how can we help?).  Work within my Pediatric Pain, Health and Communication Lab emphasizes children’s own perceptions of their health and their feelings in both acute and chronic pain contexts.  A current collaboration with the Pediatric Gastroenterology Service at LHSC Children’s seeks to understand what kinds of factors (e.g., optimism) may help children and adolescents function well in their daily lives in spite of experiencing pain.  Other work focuses on understanding and addressing gaps in the pain training of caregivers caring for children who may be particularly at risk of experiencing pain (e.g., children with Cystic Fibrosis, children with cognitive impairments).


Current Research

My research broadly focuses on pain (both acute and chronic) and fear in children and adolescents including:

  1. Adult-child interactions during children’s medical procedures (e.g., venipunctures)
  2. Measurement and intervention for child fear and pain during needle procedures
  3. Family context and correlates of needle fear
  4. Psychosocial factors in pediatric chronic pain
  5. Pain-related training needs for health care professionals and other caregivers

Awards & Grants


Funding in support of "Needle fears in children undergoing medical procedures: Knowledge synthesis, practice guidelines, and dissemination strategies" - Awarded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Knowledge Synthesis Grant

Funding in support of "Feasibility and initial effectiveness of massage therapy for pain and anxiety reduction and improved quality of life in palliative children with cancer" - Awarded by TRAC-PG Innovation Fund

Funding in support of "Pediatric Pain, Health, and Communication Laboratory" Awarded by Canadian Foundation for Innovation Infrastructure Grant and Ministry of Research and Innovation

Recent Publications



Historical analysis: The influence of societal and professional conditions on two early pediatric psychology articles and the field's subsequent development
LM Genik, CM McMurtry, J Yen
Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Manuscript submitted on May 9, 2014 (revise and resubmit; revision in progress)

Pain in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Experience, expression, and assessment
A Knoll, CM McMurtry, CT Chambers
Pediatric Pain Letter. 2013; 15:23-28

School nutrition policy: An evaluation of the Rhode Island Healthier Beverages policy in schools
CD Jensen, AF Sato, CM McMurtry, CN Hart, E Jelalian
ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. 2012; 4:276-282

Graduate admissions in pediatric psychology: The importance of undergraduate training
*BT Karazsia, CM McMurtry
Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2012; 37:127-135
*Order of authorship determined alphabetically

Massage for pain relief in pediatric palliative care: Potential benefits and challenges
S Buttle, CM McMurtry, S Marshall
Pediatric Pain Letter. 2011; 13:24-29

Children’s fear during procedural pain: Preliminary investigation of the Children’s Fear Scale
CM McMurtry, M Noel, CT Chambers, PJ McGrath
Health Psychology. 2011; 30:780-788

The prevalence of painful incidents in young recreational gymnasts
C Coates, CM McMurtry, P Lingley-Pottie, PJ McGrath
Pain Research and Management. 2010; 15:179-184

When “don’t worry” communicates fear: Children’s perceptions of parental reassurance and distraction during  a painful pediatric medical procedure
CM McMurtry, CT Chambers, PJ McGrath, E Asp
Pain. 2010; 150:52-58
Children’s memory for painful procedures: The influence of pain intensity, anxiety, and adult behaviours on subsequent recall
M Noel, CM McMurtry, CT Chambers, PJ McGrath
Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 2010; 35:626-36
Psychological interventions for reducing pain and distress during routine childhood immunizations: A systematic review
CT Chambers, A Taddio, LS Uman, CM McMurtry
Clinical Therapeutics. 2009; 31(Suppl. B):S77-S103

Book Chapters and Other Publications

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways of responding and regulating
CM McMurtry
Pain. 2014. (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2014.05.011) Invited commentary

Behavioral measures of pain
JM Chore, CM eMcMurtry
In Oxford Textbook of Paediatric Pain (P McGrath, B. Stevens, S Walker, W Zempsky (eds.))

Pediatric needle procedures: Parent-child interactions, child fear, and evidence-based treatment
CM McMurtry
Canadian Psychology. 2013; 54:75-79 [Invited submission (2012 New Researcher Award)]

Invited Editorial: Fear in pediatric acute pain: Role and measurement
L Bird, CM McMurtry
Pain Management. 2012; 2:527-529

More than "just a little poke": Taking the ouch! out of childhood immunizations
CM McMurtry, A Taddio
Pediatrics for Parents. 2011; 27:27-29

Psychological recommendations figure prominently in new national guideline on immunization pain management in children
CT Chambers, CM McMurtry
Psynopsis: Canada’s  Psychology Magazine. 2011; 33:26

BMI reporting: Missing the mark?
CM McMurtry, E Jelalian
CABL: The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter. 2009

Public Knowledge Translation Related Publications

Fact Sheet on Procedural Pain in Children and Adolescents. Society of Pediatric Psychology website
KE Boerner, M Noel, KA Birnie, CM McMurtry, CT Chambers
http://www.apadivisions.org/division-54/evidence-based/procedural-pain.aspx; 2012

Psychology works fact sheet: Needle pain. Canadian Psychological Association website
CM McMurtry, CT Chambers, A Taddio
www.cpa.ca/psychologyfactsheets/needlepain/; 2012



Phone: (519) 824-4120, x52499
Fax: (519) 837-8629
Email: cmcmurtr [at] uoguelph [dot] ca
Website: http://pphc.psy.uoguelph.ca

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