Child Life Blog Banner (8)

The Journal of Child Life: Top 3 Articles of 2023

The Journal of Child Life is the official research journal published by-annually by the Association of Child Life Professionals. It is open-access and focuses on the latest psychosocial research about children’s responses to stressful experiences and child life professionals’ work. In 2023, the journal featured articles on academic and internship experiences, efficacy of interventions, challenges facing the profession, and more. Let's take a look at the 3 most popular articles in the 2023 issues of The Journal of Child Life.

1. "We’re Going Through Tough Times Right Now": How Students of Color Navigate the Field of Child Life

Authors: Virginia Gourley, MS, CCLS Amanda C. Ginter, PhD, CCLS Maria Rosita Valencia, MS, CCLS

BIPOC student rubs head in frustration in front of laptopThe child life profession is predominantly White. To date, there is no research on the experiences of child life students of color navigating child life academic programs and internships. The purpose of this exploratory study was to analyze the experiences of child life students of color. Twelve child life students of color took part in in-depth interviews with the authors. Qualitative thematic analysis produced five themes: barriers to progress, protective factors, fitting one’s marginalized identity into child life, connecting with patients and families, and the social landscape of child life. Research and professional implications are addressed.

The Journal of Child Life: Psychosocial Theory and Practice, Vol. 4, Issue 1, 2023

Read now.

2. The Impact of a Child Life Video Preparation on Preoperative Anxiety and Post-Hospital Behaviors

Authors: Natalie Chicas, MA, CCLS, Hannah Knott, PhD, CCLS, Daphne Lew, PhD, MPH, Selina Poon, MD

BIPOC child uses IpadChildren undergoing surgery can experience significant preoperative anxiety and fear, which has been linked to regressive postoperative behaviors. Psychological preparation has been shown to reduce anxiety at time of anesthesia induction as well as negative behavioral changes after surgery. This study found that an informational video designed by a child life specialist is an effective tool for reducing preoperative anxiety and postoperative behavior changes in children ages 5 to 10 years old undergoing ambulatory surgery.

The Journal of Child Life: Psychosocial Theory and Practice, Vol. 4, Issue 2, 2023

Read now.

3. The Impact of Child Life Intervention on a Clinical Vaccine Trial

Authors: Hope E. Wright, BS, CCLS; Jennifer S. Gerson; Jennifer H. Staab, MS, CCLS

Asian child receives vaccination while in a comfort positionNeedle-related procedures, such as vaccines, can be especially stressful for children. One children’s hospital secured funding to staff a child life specialist to provide support to patients enrolled in a vaccine trial. Data was collected to explore how participants coped through multiple nasal swabs, blood draws, and injections and the impact of providing child life support during a clinical research trial. Children supported by a child life specialist for their vaccine exhibited low distress and utilized coping strategies frequently. Participant retention was higher than expected during the clinical trial. The study findings suggest including child life specialists as part of clinical trial teams in future studies.

The Journal of Child Life: Psychosocial Theory and Practice, Vol. 4, Issue 1, 2023

Read now.

Child Life Profession