The Effect of Preoperative Training and Therapeutic Play on Children’s Anxiety, Fear, and Pain

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The aim of the study is to determine the effectiveness of education and therapeutic play applied in the preoperational period to decrease the anxiety, fear, and pain levels of children in the postoperative period.


This study is a quasi-experimental and cross-sectional research. Three hundred children aged 7–12 years and suitable for the research criteria, referred to two pediatric hospitals in the northern region of Turkey for surgery, are the sample of the study. Each group (control group, training group, and training + play group) was composed of 100 children (N = 300). The experimental (training and training + play) groups were administered training and play activities on the operation day before undergoing surgery. The training group was administered training with video records on things to do before the surgery, the operating room environment, postoperative room and care, and things to do at home. In the training + game group, the child was trained on the day of surgery, and the researcher helped him or her play with the toys selected by the child from the toy basket provided by the researcher.


In this study, 88.7% of the children are boys, and 76 % of them are male children referred to the hospital for circumcision. At the end of the research, compared with control group children, children in the groups that were prepared for the operation with education and with education together with therapeutic play displayed decreased levels of anxiety and fear. This result is statistically significant (p < .001).

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