Objective: This study examined the effects of active distraction on duration of medical procedure and pain of children undergoing venipuncture. Method: Ninety-four children (aged 6-16 years), admitted to a pediatric emergency department were randomly assigned to an experimental condition (active listening to a song) or to usual care. Pain was assessed by children's reports with a visual analogue scale (VAS) ruler positioned between two facial expressions. In addition, we measured pressure pain threshold using a dolorimeter, procedure duration and white-blood cell count (WBC). Results: After controlling for confounding variables, the experimental and control groups did not differ significantly in levels of pain. However, several interaction effects emerged indicating that the experimental condition yielded less pain in females, in children with low pain thresholds, and in those with WBC < 12 000. Procedure duration did not differ among conditions. Conclusions: Active distraction was effective in reducing venipuncture pain in girls, in pain-sensitive children, and in those with normal WBC, and it is not time consuming.
- Active distraction
- Pain threshold