Purpose/Objectives: To examine whether a one-hour art-making session during blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) treatment significantly affects therapy-related symptoms, state anxiety, and stress.
Design: A pre- and post-test crossover design.
Setting: An urban outpatient cancer center in the midwestern United States.
Sample: A convenience sample of 20 patients, aged 20-68 years (X = 38.5), receiving treatment at a BMT clinic.
Methods: Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist, and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Index, and provided salivary cortisol samples. After pretesting, individuals were assigned to either a wait list or intervention. Individuals in the wait-list group received the usual treatment before completing the post-test measures. Individuals in the intervention group participated in a one-hour art-making session, after which they completed post-test measures. Participants then crossed over to the other group.
Main Research Variables: Art making, stress, state anxiety, and therapy-related symptoms.
Findings: Therapy-related symptom concerns for the intervention group at post-test were significantly lower than at pretest; no change ocurred in the control group. The salivary cortisol levels were significantly lower at post-test in the intervention and control groups. No change occurred in the anxiety levels of participants in the intervention and control groups. The study hypothesis was partially supported.
Conclusions: Art making decreased therapy-related symptoms (e.g., feeling sluggish, difficulty concentrating). Use of more physiologic indices to measure stress and replication on a larger sample are suggested.
Implications for Nursing: Individuals receiving BMT may benefit from participation in art-making interventions. Art making is easy to implement in a clinic setting and allows for positive interactions between nurses and patients.