1Assistant Professor, Departmeant of Education, Faculty of educational and sciences psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
2MS in clinical psychology, Islamic Azad University of Nishapur, Nishapur, Iran
Background: Cancer as one of the chronic diseases in children is associated with psychological problems. Utilization of low-risk and cost-effective methods (e.g., play therapy) for controlling emotional distress seems necessary in children. Aim: to determine the effects of structured cognitive-behavioral group play on anxiety and depression in children with cancer. Methods: In this quasi-experimental pretest-posttest study, 18 children (8-14 years old) with cancer, hospitalized at Dr. Sheikh Hospital of Mashhad, were selected via available sampling and were randomly allocated into control and intervention groups in 2014. The intervention group received 10 sessions (60 min) of structured cognitive-behavioral group play therapy. Both groups were assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) before and after the intervention. For data analysis, covariance analysis, paired t-test and independent t-test were performed, using SPSS version 20. Results: The mean age of the participants was 10.5±2.4 years in the intervention group and 9.3±1.6 years in the control group. Independent t-test showed that anxiety and depression significantly decreased in the intervention group (6.7±2.1 and 8.1±1.2, respectively), compared to the control group (10±3.1 and 10.2±2.8, respectively) after the intervention (P<0.04). Conclusion: Structured cognitive-behavioral group play therapy could be effective in reducing anxiety and depression in children with cancer.
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