Effects of maternal distraction versus reassurance on children's reactions to injections

Juan C. Gonzalez, Donald K. Routh, F. Daniel Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Manipulated experimentally mothers' verbal behavior during a routine intramuscular injection in order to help clarify the role of nonprocedural talk (distraction) and parental reassurance on children's reaction to the injection. 42 child-mother dyads were recruited from a general pediatric primary care clinic and were randomly assigned to a parental reassurance, parental nonprocedural talk (distraction) or minimal-treatment control group. Children in the maternal distraction condition exhibited significantly less distress during the immunization injection than those in the reassurance and control conditions. Specifically, children in the maternal distraction group exhibited less crying than children in the other two groups. Children in the reassurance and control groups did not differ from each other in terms of behavioral distress. The present findings serve further to bolster the evidence for the efficacy of maternal distraction as a way to ameliorate child distress during invasive medical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-604
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1993


  • Child
  • Distraction
  • Injection
  • Mother
  • Reassurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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