Playful interventions to promote the subjective wellbeing of pediatric cancer inpatients during laboratory and imaging exams: A qualitative study

Published:January 10, 2022DOI:


      • Four playful interventions were proposed as supportive care initiatives.
      • Playfulness during laboratory and imaging exams may increase children's wellbeing.
      • The PERMA-V model may help plan playful interventions for subjective wellbeing.



      We investigate the experience of pediatric oncology patients with objects and equipment involved in laboratory and image examinations during hospitalization for cancer treatment while generating guidelines for playful interventions to improve their subjective wellbeing.


      The study was carried out at a public tertiary referral teaching hospital in Southern Brazil. Data collection was based on participatory observations with six children aged 4–8 years. Their experiences with exams were observed through pretend play and recorded in field diaries, audio, and video. Data were analyzed using Thematic Analysis and discussed according to the PERMA-V model, a theoretical framework from positive psychology.


      Several objects and equipment that seem to affect the wellbeing of children during exams were identified. Four playful interventions were proposed as supportive care initiatives: use of technology to allow immersive experiences in learning about treatment and medical condition; design for personalization; gamifying experiences to allow positive reinforcement; and design for focus redirection.


      Guidelines for playful interventions to foster the subjective wellbeing of hospitalized children during image and laboratory exams were proposed. The PERMA-V model provided a solid base for the analysis of the interventions, which will be implemented and tested in future studies in clinical settings.


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