The influence of physical activities on the psychological well being of children who have undergone a liver transplant

by Ikeda, Yuriko, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO, 2007, 126 pages; 3289335


Previous research suggests that physical activity is important for the psychosocial functioning of individuals with chronic illness. However, little is known regarding the physical activity of children who undergo an organ transplant or how this activity may influence their psychosocial well-being. The purpose of this research was to identify the level and amount of physical activity engaged in by children who undergo a liver transplant and whether physical activity is associated with their self-concept, quality of life, or emotional and behavioral health. The sample included 13 children between the ages of 8 and 18 (mean age 13.2 ± 3.4) who were post-liver transplant for at least one year. Children completed the Functional Disability Index, the Self-Perception Profile, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Their parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist. Physical activities were measured using the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall. Descriptive statistics and partial Pearson correlation coefficients were computed to analyze the data, controlling for age, gender and self-worth where appropriate.

Results indicated that children participated in physical activity during after school hours less than the amount reported previously for healthy children. Moderate to vigorous physical activity was positively associated with children's perceptions of their physical appearance and social competence. The more the children participated in moderate to vigorous physical activities, the more likely they were to engage in rule-breaking behaviors but exhibit attention problems, but the less likely they were to exhibit withdrawn/depressed behavior as reported by parents. Greater participation in moderate to vigorous physical activities was also associated with better psychosocial quality of life, especially the child's perceived social functioning.

Findings suggest that physical activity may enhance self-concept and certain areas of socioemotional functioning but may also increase parents' concerns regarding defiance or disobedience of children who have had a liver transplant. Results also indicate that self-concept may play either a mediating or moderating role in how activity influences emotional and behavioral problems. Further research with a larger, more representative sample is needed to better understand these relationships.

AdviserSandra Weiss
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsPhysical therapy; Nursing
Publication Number3289335

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