Efficacy of therapeutic play for pediatric brain tumor patients during external beam radiotherapy

Yu Li Tsai, Shiow Chwen Tsai, Sang Hue Yen, Kai Lin Huang, Pei Fan Mu, Hueh Chun Liou, Tai Tong Wong, I. Chun Lai, Pin Liu, Hsiao Ling Lou, I. Tsun Chiang, Yi Wei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: External beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is frequently used to improve disease control for pediatric brain tumor patients. However, to facilitate the radiotherapy (RT) procedure, "forced" type interventions including conscious sedation or general anesthesia are frequently used to manage patients' fear and anxiety. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of therapeutic play (TP) in reducing anxiety for pediatric brain tumor patients treated by EBRT. Methods: Between April 1st and September 30th, 2009, 19 young brain tumor patients, aged 3-15 years and recommended for RT, were recruited: ten to a control group and nine to the study intervention group. The study group was introduced with TP during EBRT. The Beck Youth Anxiety Inventory and the Faces Anxiety Scale were used to evaluate patients' psychological levels of anxiety. The heart rate variability and salivary cortisol concentrations were used to indicate the patients' physical levels of anxiety. Both the psychological and physiological tests were administered to all subjects before and after the RT procedure. Results: The study group had significantly lower anxiety scores and expressed fewer negative emotions than did the control group before EBRT. Conclusions: TP can not only improve the quality of medical services but can also reduce costs and staffing demands. In addition, it can help lower young patients' anxiety and fear during medical procedures. As a result, it further decreases the potential negative impacts of hospitalization on these young patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1129
Number of pages7
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Brain tumor
  • Quality of life
  • Radiotherapy
  • Sedation
  • Therapeutic play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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