Using distraction to reduce reported pain, fear, and behavioral distress in children and adolescents: a multisite study.

Journal Article

Issues and purpose

Distraction during painful procedures has been shown to be effective in previous studies, yet this simple intervention is not used routinely. This study examined the effectiveness and feasibility of distraction in reducing behavioral distress, pain, and fear during venipuncture or intravenous insertion.

Design and methods

A two-group randomized design with 384 children in 13 children's hospitals.


Age was a significant factor in observed behavioral distress, reports of fear, and self-reported pain. The use of a kaleidoscope, however, did not significantly reduce pain or distress during venipuncture or i.v. insertion.

Practice implications

Failure of the distraction intervention to reach statistical significance in this study is puzzling, given anecdotal reports of clinical efficacy. Methodological issues may have obscured actual differences between experimental and control groups.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Carlson, KL; Broome, M; Vessey, JA

Published Date

  • April 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 75 - 85

PubMed ID

  • 10879362

Pubmed Central ID

  • 10879362

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1088-145X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1744-6155.2000.tb00089.x


  • eng