Reducing infant immunization distress through distraction

Health Psychol. 2002 Mar;21(2):207-11.


Infant procedural distress is largely understudied, and there is a dearth of empirically supported interventions in the child health psychology literature. This study examined nurse-directed distraction for reducing infant immunization distress. Ninety infants and their parents were randomly assigned to a distraction condition (i.e., nurses used stimuli to divert infants' attention) or a typical care condition. Outcome measures were an observational scale, parent and nurse ratings, and infant heart rate. Results indicated that infants engaged in distraction and that distraction reduced their behavioral distress; however, ratings and heart rate were inconclusive. Analyses of procedural phases indicated that infants exhibited elevated distress immediately prior to and during an injection, but this distress was fleeting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization / adverse effects*
  • Immunization / nursing*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*