Introduction: For children, the acceptance to adapt to new circumstances is a crisis, causing separation anxiety, sadness, fear of new surroundings and disability of life. Playing serves as a communication channel, leading to improvement in conditions of serious illnesses caused by the need to meet emotional, social and mental well-being of children, feelings of fear and anxiety, through which children have the opportunity to express themselves. This study aimed to assess the impact of game playing on anxiety reduction in children admitted to pediatric wards of the hospital.
Methods: The sample size in this study was 80 patients, of which 40 were in the control group and 40 in the test group. First, the anxiety questionnaire was given to the children who had the inclusion criteria, then, using the block randomization method, 80 children with anxiety were divided into two groups of 40, named test and control groups. The post-intervention questionnaire was completed by the children. This study was conducted in three stages: pre-intervention, intervention and post-intervention. The purpose of the intervention the program was to play in groups of 8-7 children with age-appropriate toys as well as in game rooms to reduce hospitalization anxiety in children. The program comprised 6 game sessions on the second, third and fourth days of admission to hospital in the morning and evening and each time was 30 minutes.
Results: The findings indicated that children's state anxiety at pre-intervention was within the range of “severe to very severe” and “higher-average”, but after the intervention it changed to “lower-average”, which was statistically significant. Trait anxiety in children in pre-intervention was in the “higher-average to intense” level, but after the intervention it decreased to “average-severe”, which was statistically significant.
Conclusions: Considering the importance of playing in hospitalized children for the reduction of anxiety, it is medically advisable to use this technique in children.