Zsuzsanna Katalin Papp1, Dr Szabolcs Török1
Semmelweis University, Institute of Mental Health, Budapest
Introduction: Physical, psychological and social functioning of children with chronic illness is often set back in comparison with healthy peers. Summer camps working with therapeutic recreation methods aim to improve their quality of life.
Aims: Comprehensively assess which areas of psychosocial wellbeing of children with serious illness can change after participating in camp Bátor Tábor. Also to analyze patterns in change and detecting factors influencing these, like social skills or demographic factors.
Method: Interviews via phone were carried out with parents of eligible children before camp, 1 month and 6 months after camp. Participating children had the diagnosis of childhood cancer or leukemia, anemia, juvenile immune arthritis (JIA) and chronic gastroenterological inflammations, ages 6-18, n=80. Psychosocial functioning was measured by PedsQL. Resilience, PTSD, coping a perceived family support scales were also applied beside basic demographic questions.
Results: Paired sample T measures showed significant differences with medium to large effect sizes in the means before and after camp on both timelines on the PedsQL psychosocial scale, with less problems after camp. A significant change was found on the relationship skills scale with growing results one month after camp. Changes in other social skills and coping were observed only on the 6 months after camp measure. Repeated measures of mixed factorial ANOVA showed that gender, age and previous camp experience have significant effect on changes in psychosocial functioning.
Conclusion: This study is the first outcome effectiveness study in Bátor Tábor that has a 3 time follow up design and measures the wellbeing of the children at 6 months after camp. Clinically important decline of psychosocial problems was observed, while improvement of positive skills were more discrete and seen only six months after camp. The role of gender and previous camp experience needs further investigation and considerations in program planning.
IV. Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences.
Program: 03. Sociological and mental health approaches to resources for individuals and communities.
Supervisor: Dr Szabolcs Török.
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