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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1990 Oct;58(5):565-72.

Behavioral intervention to reduce child and parent distress during venipuncture.

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  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021.


This study investigated a behavioral intervention incorporating parent coaching, attentional distraction, and positive reinforcement to control child distress during invasive cancer treatment. Children (N = 23) requiring physical restraint to complete venipuncture were alternately assigned to either a behavioral intervention or an attention control condition. Child distress behaviors were recorded, and self-reports of parent, child, and nurse distress were obtained. Parent and nurse also rated child distress. Results of planned comparisons indicate that observed child distress, parent-rated child distress, and parent ratings of his/her own distress were significantly reduced by behavioral intervention and were maintained across the course of three intervention trials. The use of physical restraint to manage child behavior was also significantly reduced. Child self-reported pain and nurse ratings of child distress were not significantly affected.

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