Siegel, J., Iida, H., Rachlin, K., & Yount, G. (2016). Expressive arts therapy with hospitalized children: A pilot study of co-creating healing sock creatures. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 31(1), 92-98.
A novel form of expressive arts therapy was developed in a pediatric unit and received enthusiastic support from hospital staff and family members because of their impressions that the children were calmer following therapy, as well as throughout the remainder of the hospital stay. A pilot study was conducted to assess the feasibility of quantifying such impressions by measuring changes in the children’s mood by self-report. Twenty-five children (mean age 8.34 years, SD 3.77) were recruited for the study, coming from diverse social-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and an array of medical diagnoses. The results document improvements in mood for children following therapy sessions, compared to children in a wait-list control group. Additionally, a meta-analysis examining external influences and changes in salivary cortisol levels measured before and after therapy sessions illustrates the importance of considering aspects of the clinical setting when assessing the effectiveness of this and other expressive arts therapies for reducing stress during hospitalization.