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Effects of distraction on children's pain and distress during medical procedures: a meta-analysis
Nursing research
  • Charmaine Kleiber, University of Iowa
  • D. C. Harper
Document Type
Peer Reviewed
Publication Date
NLM Title Abbreviation
Nurs Res
PubMed ID
BACKGROUND: It is difficult to determine the usefulness of distraction to decrease children's distress behavior and pain during medical procedures because many studies use very small samples and report inconsistent findings. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the mean effect sizes across studies for the effects of distraction on young children's distress behavior and self-reported pain during medical procedures. METHOD: Hunter and Schmidt's (1990) procedures were used to analyze 16 studies (total n = 491) on children's distress behavior and 10 studies (total n = 535) on children's pain. RESULTS: For distress behavior, the mean effect size was 0.33 (+/-0.17), with 74% of the variance accounted for by sampling and measurement error. For pain, the mean effect size was 0.62 (+/-0.42) with 35% of the variance accounted for. Analysis of studies on pain that limited the sample to children 7 years of age or younger (total n = 286) increased the amount of explained variance to 60%. CONCLUSIONS: Distraction had a positive effect on children's distress behavior across the populations represented in this study. The effect of distraction on children's self-reported pain is influenced by moderator variables. Controlling for age and type of painful procedure significantly increased the amount of explained variance, but there are other unidentified moderators at work.
  • Adolescent,
  • Analysis of Variance,
  • Bias (Epidemiology),
  • Child,
  • Child,
  • Preschool,
  • Effect Modifiers (Epidemiology),
  • Humans,
  • Pain/diagnosis/etiology/prevention & control,
  • Pain Measurement,
  • Relaxation Therapy/standards,
  • Reproducibility of Results,
  • Research Design/standards,
  • Sample Size,
  • Stress,
  • Psychological/diagnosis/etiology/prevention & control
Published Article/Book Citation
Nursing research, 48:1 (1999) pp.44-49.
Citation Information
Charmaine Kleiber and D. C. Harper. "Effects of distraction on children's pain and distress during medical procedures: a meta-analysis" Nursing research Vol. 48 Iss. 1 (1999) p. 44 - 49 ISSN: 0029-6562
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