BMJ Open 3:e001666 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001666
  • Paediatrics
    • Research

Movie making as a cognitive distraction for paediatric patients receiving radiotherapy treatment: qualitative interview study

  1. Aldo G Rolfo3
  1. 1Centre for Program Evaluation, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Radiation Therapy Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Radiation Oncology Victoria, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bradley J M Shrimpton; bshrimpt{at}
  • Received 20 June 2012
  • Revised 9 November 2012
  • Accepted 19 November 2012
  • Published 16 January 2013


Objectives To establish the outcomes achieved by using an innovative movie-making programme designed to reduce fear of radiotherapy among paediatric patients.

Design Qualitative descriptive evaluation based on semistructured, qualitative interviews with purposeful sampling and thematic analysis.

Setting Tertiary Cancer Centre.

Participants 20 parents of paediatric patients who had produced a movie of their radiation therapy experience and were in a follow-up phase of cancer management.

Results Participants attributed a broad range of outcomes to the movie-making program. These included that the programme had helped reduce anxiety and distress exhibited by paediatric patients and contributed to a willingness to receive treatment. Other outcomes were that the completed movies had been used in school reintegration and for maintaining social connections.

Conclusions Allowing children to create a video of their experience of radiotherapy provided a range of benefits to paediatric patients that varied according to their needs. For some patients, movie-making offered a valuable medium for overcoming fear of the unknown as well as increasing understanding of treatment processes. For others, the development of a personalised video offered an important cognitive/attentional distraction through engaging with an age-appropriate activity. Together these outcomes helped children maintain self-control and a positive outlook.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

blog comments powered by Disqus