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Hospitalized school-age children with cancer are confronted with stressful and life-threatening situations which can cause them unhappiness, tension, and stress. This randomized control trial investigated the effects of guided-imagination and drawing- storytelling on the happiness, relaxation, and salivary cortisol levels among hospitalized school-age children with cancer. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental group (n=20) or the control group (n=20). The participants in the experimental group received guided-imagination for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of drawing-storytelling, while the participants in the control group received only usual care. The Happiness Face Scale was used for measuring happiness and the Relaxation Scale was used for measuring relaxation. Saliva was also collected for testing cortisol levels. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data.
The results showed that the experimental group receiving guided-imagination and drawing-storytelling had statistically significant increased happiness and relaxation scores over time, compared to the control group. Even though cortisol levels decreased throughout the study, there were no significant differences between the two groups. These results demonstrate that guided-imagination and drawing-storytelling can enhance happiness and relaxation levels but may not decrease salivary cortisol levels. Thus, it is recommended that nurses provide the guided-imagination and drawing-storytelling to pediatric patients to increase their happiness and relaxation.
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