The effectiveness of therapeutic play, using virtual reality computer games, in promoting the psychological well-being of children hospitalised with cancer

William Hc Li, Joyce Ok Chung, Eva Ky Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims. To examine the effectiveness of therapeutic play, using virtual reality computer games, in minimising anxiety and reducing depressive symptoms in Hong Kong Chinese children hospitalised with cancer. Background. There has been an increase in the use of therapeutic play intervention to help children cope with the stress of hospitalisation. However, it is not clear whether therapeutic play is an appropriate psychological intervention for Chinese children hospitalised with cancer. Design. A non-equivalent control group pretest-post-test, between-subject design was employed. Method. Hong Kong Chinese Children (8-16years of age), admitted to a paediatric oncology ward for the treatment of cancer during a 14-month period, were invited to participate in the study. Of the 122 children, 70 formed the control group receiving routine nursing care and 52 in the experimental group receiving therapeutic play interventions. Results. The results showed that children in the experimental group reported statistically significant fewer depressive symptoms than children in the control group on day 7. The results, however, find no differences in children's anxiety scores between the two groups on day 7. Conclusion. The study provides empirical evidence to support the effectiveness of therapeutic play, using virtual reality computer games, in the psychological preparation of children hospitalised with cancer, thus charting a path towards promoting holistic and quality care. Relevance to clinical practice. The findings heighten the awareness in healthcare professionals that play is a very important part of children's life and that they need play even when they are ill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2135-2143
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume20
Issue number15-16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Children
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Psychological
  • Therapeutic play
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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