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The effect of storytelling on anxiety and behavioral disorders in children undergoing surgery: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Sekhavatpour Z, Khanjani N, Reyhani T, Ghaffari S, Dastoorpoor M

Received 15 January 2019

Accepted for publication 11 June 2019

Published 11 July 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 61—68

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PHMT.S201653

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roosy Aulakh


Zohreh Sekhavatpour,1 Narges Khanjani,2 Tayebeh Reyhani,3 Sogol Ghaffari,4 Maryam Dastoorpoor5

1Department of Pediatric Nursing, Anesthesiology, School of Paramedicine, Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Dezful, Iran; 2Department of Epidemiology, Neurology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran; 3Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; 4Department of Psychologist, Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Dezful, Iran; 5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Menopause Andropause Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

Background: One of the most frightening procedures for children is surgery. This study aimed to assess the effect of animated illustrated stories on anxiety and behavioral disorders in children after surgery.
Methods: In this randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT), 60 children between 4 and 8 years who went through adenotonsillectomy were divided into two groups based on random numbers. In the intervention group, animated illustrated books were read for the children by the researcher, for 30 mins, on the night before surgery. Child’s anxiety was measured using the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS) and Behavioral Disorder questionnaire (a researcher-made tool) before and 10 days after the book reading. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the non-parametric Mann–Whitney U test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Results: The results showed that mean scores of physiological anxiety (P-value<0.001), social concerns/concentration (P-value=0.012), and total anxiety (P-value<0.001), except worry/oversensitivity (P-value=0.140), statistically significantly decreased in the intervention group after book reading, but mean total anxiety and its three dimensions did not show statistically significant differences before and after treatment in the control group (P-value>0.05). Mean scores of the Behavioral Disorder questionnaire significantly decreased in the intervention group after book reading (P-value=0.001), but significantly increased in the control group (P-value<0.001).
Conclusion: The results showed that reading animated illustrated books could be effective in reducing anxiety and behavioral disorders in children after surgery. It seems that these books could be a new and creative way to distract children and can be used as supportive care.

Keywords: anxiety, behavioral disorders, children’s surgery, storytelling

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