Children commonly undergo uncomfortable and often times painful procedures, including those that may not be perceived as painful to adults (Çelikol, Büyük, & Yıldızlar, 2019). It is important to note when a child's pain is poorly managed, it causes adverse effects related to their well-being and reduces their ability to cope effectively with pain in the future (Gates et al., 2020). Virtual reality (VR) has been used in a multimodal approached to manage acute pain in adults, but there is little research related to its use in treating procedural pain in children and adolescents. This thesis reviewed the published research on the use of immersive VR on procedural pain in children and adolescents. A total of nine studies were analyzed and included in this literature review and all of them included VR as a distraction intervention during a procedure for children or adolescents. The procedures included three venipunctures, one intravenous injection, one venous cannulation, one dental filling or tooth extraction, one nasal endoscopy, one vascular access, and one burn dressing change. All studies measured and compared the reported pain levels of the participants using VR as well as participants who did not use VR. The results obtained from the nine studies provided evidence to support the use of immersive VR in children and adolescents while they undergo a painful procedure. To more accurately generalize the results of these studies and confidently say immersive VR can be used to decrease procedural pain, there is a need for more research containing larger sample sizes, standardized pain measurement, and increased variety of procedures. The databases searched for this literature review includes CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and APA PsycINFO. The key search terms included "virtual reality" and "procedure" and "pain" and "childhood or adolescent."

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Allred, Kelly


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Nursing Commons