Background: Routine needle procedures can be distressing for parents and children. Mindfulness interventions may be helpful for parents and children but have not been examined for pediatric needle procedures despite showing benefits in the context of pediatric chronic pain and in lab-based pain tasks.
Methods: This preregistered (NCT03941717) two-arm, parallel-group randomized controlled trial examined the effects of a 5 min mindfulness intervention before pediatric venipuncture for parents and children (aged 7-12) compared to a control group on primary outcomes of child pain and fear, secondary outcomes of parent distress, and tertiary outcomes of parent ratings of child pain and fear. Moderators of parent and children’s responses to the intervention were examined: state catastrophizing, trait mindfulness, and experiential avoidance.
Results: Sixty-one parent-child dyads were randomized (31 mindfulness; 30 control). Parents and children completed measures, listened to a 5 min audio recording (mindfulness or control), and parents accompanied their child during routine venipuncture. The mindfulness intervention involved breathing and encouraging nonjudgmental attention to one’s experiences, while the control condition involved an unfocused attention task. Three between-subject MANCOVAs assessed for group differences. Child pain and fear rated by children and their parents did not differ between groups. Parents in the mindfulness group were less distressed during the venipuncture than the controls. Parent state catastrophizing may have moderated the intervention effects, such that parents with moderate and high catastrophizing levels had lower distress following the mindfulness intervention versus control.
Conclusions: The intervention did not reduce child pain or fear but reduced parent distress. It appeared most helpful for parents catastrophizing about their child’s pain, which is noteworthy as these children are prone to worse outcomes.Reference:
Moline RL, Constantin K, Chambers CT, Powell D, Lewis SP, Laurignano L, McMurtry CM. A Brief Mindfulness Intervention for Parents and Children before Pediatric Venipuncture: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Children (Basel). 2022 Nov 30;9(12):1869. doi: 10.3390/children9121869. PMID: 36553313; PMCID: PMC9776747.