Development of a Novel Massage Therapy Outcome Measure for Children and Young Adults Receiving Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

  • Jessica Waller Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Rachel Bican Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Ohio University
  • David Collichio Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Corrie Frey Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Deborah Zerkle Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Travis Duffey Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Joseph Stanek Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Biostatistics Resource at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Ben Reader Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Anne Gonzales Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Jeffery J. Auletta Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Keywords: massage therapy, pediatrics, oncology, hemopoietic cell transplantation, outcome measure, cancer


Background: Children receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) often experience an unfortunate sequalae of negative effects including pain, deconditioning, and anxiety. Massage therapy (MT) has demonstrated effective non-pharmacological management of fatigue, pain, and anxiety in patients undergoing cancer treatment. Existing studies have been limited by the lack of available MT-specific outcome measures to track responses to interventions.

Purpose: This study aimed to describe the creation of a novel MT-specific outcome measure to be utilized in the pediatric acute-care setting and establish construct validity for this measure to assess clinical effectiveness of MT interventions.

Setting: An oncology ward at a large pediatric tertiary medical center in the United States.

Participants: A total of 58 children and young adults undergoing HCT.

Research Design: Retrospective Cohort Study.

Intervention: A panel of massage therapists created a novel outcome measure, OMPREP, for use in MT sessions and per-formed a literature review to ensure face validity of the tool. This outcome measure was administered to patients and data were collected retrospectively to assess construct validity.

Results: A total of 1,333 MT sessions were completed (80.7% completion rate) with the novel OMPREP outcome measure utilized on 100% of visits. Mean engagement (p<.001), response (p<.001), and pain (p<.001) scores were all significantly great-er at evaluation and discharge compared to the lowest observed scores post-HCT.

Conclusion: The novel MT-specific out-come measure, OMPREP, was feasible and demonstrated construct validity when implemented in a pediatric acute-care setting by massage therapists. This new tool may offer a quantitative measure of MT-interventions and assist in tracking patient outcomes.

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How to Cite
Waller, J., Bican, R. ., David Collichio, Corrie Frey, Deborah Zerkle, Travis Duffey, Joseph Stanek, Ben Reader, Anne Gonzales, & Jeffery J. Auletta. (2023). Development of a Novel Massage Therapy Outcome Measure for Children and Young Adults Receiving Hematopoietic Cell Transplant. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage &amp; Bodywork Research Education &Amp; Practice, 16(3), 35–43.