A brief bedside visual art intervention decreases anxiety and improves pain and mood in patients with haematologic malignancies

J. J. Saw, E. A. Curry, Shawna L Ehlers, Paul D Scanlon, Brent A Bauer, J. Rian, D. R. Larson, A. P. Wolanskyj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Treatment of cancer-related symptoms represents a major challenge for physicians. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine whether a brief bedside visual art intervention (BVAI) facilitated by art educators improves mood, reduces pain and anxiety in patients with haematological malignancies. Thirty-one patients (21 women and 10 men) were invited to participate in a BVAI where the goal of the session was to teach art technique for ~30 min. Primary outcome measures included the change in visual analog scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule scale, from baseline prior to and immediately post-BVAI. Total of 21 patients (19 women and two men) participated. A significant improvement in positive mood and pain scores (p = .003 and p = .017 respectively) as well as a decrease in negative mood and anxiety (p = .016 and p = .001 respectively) was observed. Patients perceived BVAI as overall positive (95%) and wished to participate in future art-based interventions (85%). This accessible experience, provided by artists within the community, may be considered as an adjunct to conventional treatments in patients with cancer-related mood symptoms and pain, and future studies with balanced gender participation may support the generalisability of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Art intervention
  • Complementary medicine
  • Haematologic cancer
  • Integrative medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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