What research evidence is there for the use of art therapy in the management of symptoms in adults with cancer? A systematic review

This review aims to identify and evaluate studies of art therapy in cancer care, and to assess and synthesize the evidence for its use in the management of symptoms in adults with cancer

Michele J. M. Wood; Alexander Molassiotis; Sheila Payne

2010

Scholarcy highlights

  • The arts and arts therapies play a significant role in cancer care, providing avenues for communication and expression and enhancing quality of life 1-13
  • This review aims to identify and evaluate studies of art therapy in cancer care, and to assess and synthesize the evidence for its use in the management of symptoms in adults with cancer
  • Symptoms most frequently improved by art therapy were psychological, with accompanying improvements to global QOL and coping
  • The methodological shortcomings of the studies, including the modest effect sizes seen in the randomized controlled trial studies, limit the usefulness of these findings beyond indicating where further research is needed
  • The synthesis of current research by this review identifies a breadth of art therapy interventions that seem to benefit some cancer symptoms
  • The review suggests better quality research studies are needed to underpin art therapy's contribution to cancer survivorship

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