Make-A-Wish Israel participated in a study* to measure how wish-granting experiences influence the medical outcomes of children with cancer. Sixty-six children ages 5-12 participated in the study, and all knew they’d receive a wish at some point. Half were placed an intervention group that knew they would receive a wish within six months. The other half, known as the control group, were put on a waiting list for a wish. The data showed significant differences in the emotional health of these two groups as measured by three respected, widely used assessment tool. The tools quantify hope, positive emotions, health-related quality of life and anxiety.
The intervention group showed a decrease in the perception of their physical limitations. The findings reinforce the need for interventions that enhance and promote quality of life. While the focus studied children with cancer, the results may point to the need for studies involving children with other medical conditions.
“It is possible that wishing enabled these children to dream about things that seemed unobtainable, out of reach, and thus created an experience of achieving the impossible,” researchers wrote.
*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the [Make-A-Wish] intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7