Medical clowning has been proven effective in reducing pain, anxiety, and stress in many sporadic, usually small-scale studies. Our meta-analysis aims to evaluate the efficiency of medical clowns in reducing pain and anxiety in hospitalized pediatric patients and their parents in different medical fields.
A thorough literature search was conducted from different databases, and only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included with children aged 0 to 18 years old. A total of 18 studies were included, and statistical analysis was performed on the combined data.
A total of 912 children (14 studies) showed significantly reduced anxiety when procedures were performed with a medical clown compared with the controls (- 0.76 on anxiety score, P < 0.001). Preoperative anxiety was lower in 512 children (nine studies) with clown interventions than in the controls (- 0.78, P < 0.001). The pain scale was completed by 338 participants (six studies), indicating a trend toward reduced pain during procedures performed while the clown was acting compared to controls (- 0.49, P = 0.06). In addition, medical clown significantly (- 0.52, P = 0.001) reduced parental anxiety in 489 participants in ten studies; in six of the ten studies, with a total of 380 participants, medical clown significantly reduced parental preoperative anxiety (P = 0.02).
Medical clowns have substantial positive and beneficial effects on reducing stress and anxiety in children and their families in various circumstances in pediatrics. Copyright © 2023. The Author(s).
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