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Creative Arts Therapy Improves Quality Of Life For Pediatric Brain Tumor Patients Receiving Outpatient Chemotherapy

Jennifer R. Madden, Patricia Mowry, Dexiang Gao, Patsy McGuire Cullen, Nicholas K. Foreman

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This mixed methods pilot study evaluated the effects of the creative arts therapy (CAT) on the quality of life (QOL) of children receiving chemotherapy. A 2-group, repeated measures randomized design compared CAT with a volunteer’s attention (n = 16). Statistical analysis of the randomized controlled phase of the study suggested an improvement in the following areas after the CAT: parent report of child’s hurt ( P = .03) and parent report of child’s nausea ( P = .0061). A nonrandomized phase, using a different instrument showed improved mood with statistical significance on the Faces Scale ( P < .01), and patients were more excited ( P < .05), happier ( P < .02), and less nervous ( P < .02). Provider focus groups revealed positive experiences. Case studies are included to exemplify the therapeutic process. With heightened interest in complementary therapy for children with cancer, future research with a larger sample size is needed to document the impact of incorporating creative arts into the healing process.