This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) enhanced interactive videogame distraction for children undergoing experimentally induced cold pressor pain and examined the role of avoidant and approach coping style as a moderator of VR distraction effectiveness. Sixty-two children (6–13 years old) underwent a baseline cold pressor trial followed by two cold pressor trials in which interactive videogame distraction was delivered both with and without a VR helmet in counterbalanced order. As predicted, children demonstrated significant improvement in pain tolerance during both interactive videogame distraction conditions. However, a differential response to videogame distraction with or without the enhancement of VR technology was not found. Children’s coping style did not moderate their response to distraction. Rather, interactive videogame distraction with and without VR technology was equally effective for children who utilized avoidant or approach coping styles.
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This study was funded by Grant No. R01HD050385 from the National Institute for Child Health and Development. The authors thank Jeff Moore and the UMBC Summer Day Camp counselors for arranging the day camp schedule so that the campers could participate in this study, and Michael Buccheri, LaShawna Epps, Patrick Fisher, Wendy Gaultney, Lauren Hall, Anne Marie Porter, Alex Psihogios, Nora Truscello, Serwaa Boakye, Alexandra Chin-Lee, Catherine Dodson, LaTrice Dowtin, and Adele Ferrer for helping with participant recruitment, experimental procedures, and data management.
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Sil, S., Dahlquist, L.M., Thompson, C. et al. The effects of coping style on virtual reality enhanced videogame distraction in children undergoing cold pressor pain. J Behav Med 37, 156–165 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-012-9479-0