Efficacy of cognitive-behavioral play therapy in reducing children’s night-time fears



Introduction: This study investigated the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral play therapy for reducing children’s night-time fears, and compared this therapeutic method with educating fearful children’s mothers.Method: Thirty night-time fearful 7-year-old girls were recruited using accessible proportional stratified sampling and randomly assigned to play therapy, mother’s education, and control groups (10 in each). Subjects in the play therapy group had cognitive-behavioral play therapy during six sessions once per week. Three group learning sessions were held every 2 weeks in the mother’s education group, and no intervention was taken in the control group. Nine week post-test and 11 week follow-up tests were done. All subjects were assessed using the Structured Children’s Night-time Fear Interview, Parent’s Night-time Fear Questionnaire, and the Demographic Questionnaire. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance (repeated measures) statistical methods.Results: The results revealed a significant reduction in night-time fears of children in the play therapy group, compared with those in the mother’s education and control groups.Conclusion: These findings agree with previous studies; however, no evidence shows that educating mothers is a therapeutic method for reducing children’s night-time fears, despite some previous studies.