The Effectiveness of Parents as Distraction Coaches During Venipuncture: a Randomised Controlled Trial

  • J.C. Walsh
  • N. Martin
  • C. Heary
  • E. Moylett
  • P. Cahill
  • F. Brady


Objective. To assess if training parents as distraction coaches would increase the amount of distraction used by parents and reduce child pain and anxiety during venipuncture procedures. Method. 44 participants were assigned to either distraction training condition (using a training booklet sent prior to the procedure and an electronic tablet to distract their child during the procedure) or a control group. Results. Parents used significantly more distraction in the experimental group compared with the controls. Although no significant differences for child distress or pain were observed between groups, significantly higher levels of coping behaviours were found in the experimental group. Significant correlations between higher rates of parental use of distraction and lower reports of child pain and distress. Significant correlations were found between parent distress-promoting behaviours and child distress. Conclusions. Distraction training was successful in training parents to use higher rates of distraction although expected reductions in pain and distress were not found for the experimental group. The intervention significantly increased child coping behaviour.
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