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Relaxation-Guided Imagery Reduces Anxiety, Boosts Mood of Parents of Kids with Cancer

02 Mar

Researchers from Cyprus University of Technology explored the effect of Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and Guided Imagery (GI) in reducing anxiety levels among parents of children diagnosed with any type of malignancy receiving active treatment at a pediatric oncology Unit.

In this randomized, non-blinded, controlled trial, 54 eligible parents were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (PMR and GI) (n = 29) or a control group (n = 25), where changes in anxiety levels (HAM-A) and mood (POMSb) were assessed.

Investigators found a statistically significant difference in the mean scores of anxiety levels of the subjects in the intervention group as compared to the control group. The effect size for the intervention group was low to moderate (0.37).

Regarding mood changes, there was a statistically significant difference in tension for parents in the intervention group. (p = 0.027).

 Furthermore, the parents in the intervention group were significantly less sad following the intervention (p = 0.001), and felt significantly less tense (p = 0.001) and anxious (p = 0.031) compared to those in the control group.

These findings demonstrated a positive effect of the combination of PMR and GI in reducing anxiety and improving mood states in parents of children with malignancy.

Citation: Tsitsi T1, Charalambous A2, Papastavrou E3, Raftopoulos V4. Effectiveness of a relaxation intervention (progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery techniques) to reduce anxiety and improve mood of parents of hospitalized children with malignancies: A randomized controlled trial in Republic of Cyprus and Greece. European Journal of Oncology Nursing.  2017 Feb;26:9-18. Epub 2016 Nov 18.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award