Objective: The current study tested the effectiveness of interactive versus passive distraction that was delivered via a virtual reality type head-mounted display helmet for children experiencing cold pressor pain.
Design: Forty children, aged 5 to 13 years, underwent 1 or 2 baseline cold pressor trials followed by interactive distraction and passive distraction trials in counterbalanced order.
Main outcome measures: Pain threshold and pain tolerance.
Results: Children who experienced either passive or interactive distraction demonstrated significant improvements in both pain tolerance and pain threshold relative to their baseline scores. In contrast, children who underwent a second cold pressor trial without distraction showed no significant improvements in pain tolerance or threshold.
Conclusion: Although both distraction conditions were effective, the interactive distraction condition was significantly more effective. Implications for the treatment of children's distress during painful medical procedures are discussed.
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