Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Primary Minor


Program Director

Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP

Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris, PhD


Pediatric nursing specializes in caring for patients from birth through adolescence; therefore, pediatric nursing can be spiritually challenging but rewarding. This thesis will explore the questions:

  • Does dance/movement therapy have the potential to improve the quality of life for children who are diagnosed with cancer?
  • How does dance/movement therapy change the quality of life in pediatric cancer patients throughout their diagnosis and treatment?

To aid in answering these questions, this thesis will examine various research articles related to dance/movement therapy and other creative arts therapy as complementary medicine and integrating the activity into nursing care. Children who are diagnosed and treated for cancer are at risk. The illness can prohibit the child’s development, inhibit the child’s sense of self, and impair quality of life. Incorporating dance/movement therapy into modern medicine for pediatric patients is essential for providing holistic nursing care. Dance/movement therapy has the potential to give the child a sense of normalcy and will allow the child to express their thoughts and emotions throughout their cancer diagnosis and intense treatment in ways other than words. The studies in this review will look at how dance/movement therapy and other creative art therapy impact children and adults diagnosed with cancer and other serious health conditions. Most of the studies revealed overwhelming positive results, participants reported significant physical improvement and well-being, and reduced stress levels and symptoms throughout their medical diagnosis and treatment. However, some of the pilot studies had too few subjects to provide conclusive results.

Therefore, a proposal for further research is presented with the goal of expanding the body of knowledge about dance/movement therapy. The question of whether or not dance/movement therapy has the potential to improve the quality of life in pediatric cancer patients deserves further attention. The proposed study will be a mixed-method interventional design, focusing on pediatric cancer patients with an age range from seven to 17 years old. An interventional dance/movement experience will be provided for participants. Surveys and interviews will be used to provide qualitative data and validated pain assessment tools and emotional tools will be used to provide quantitative data.

Available for download on Monday, May 13, 2024