Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of one-time medical clowning on improving short-term positive emotions among hospitalized children undergoing cancer treatment, and to analyze whether age moderates this effect. Design: In this quasi-experimental research study, we recruited a pooled sample of 96 children who were undergoing cancer treatment in pediatric oncology/hematology wards at three university-affiliated medical centers in Taiwan from June 2018 through April 2020. Methods: Children’s demographic characteristics, symptom distress, quality of life, and pretest emotional status were collected at T1. At T2, we collected only posttest emotional status. We adapted generalized estimating equation models to evaluate the effectiveness of medical clowning on enhancing positive emotions. Findings: Changes in the probabilities of positive emotion were significantly different across groups (51.84% for the experimental group, 15.76% for the control group; Δ = 36.08, p = 0.001), and the change was more than two times larger for the experimental group (effect ratio = 3.28, p < 0.05) than for the control group. When evaluating the moderating effect of age on the intervention, none of the coefficients reached the significant (p < 0.05) levels, suggesting that age may not moderate the intervention effect. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the core value of medical clowning in child-friendly health care. Our findings clearly support the benefit of the one-time medical clowning program on enhancing short-term emotional well-being across age groups of children. Medical clowning programs should be strongly encouraged and supported in pediatric oncology wards. Clinical relevance: Medical clowning programs should be widely and continuously implemented in pediatric oncology wards as a routine clinical practice for enhancing emotional well-being among children receiving cancer treatment. Nurses need to be aware of medical clowning’s equal effectiveness across age groups, not only or better for younger children.
- medical clowning
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