"Significance Storytelling is a unique human skill, yet we know little about its physiological and psychological impact. This study provides evidence of the biomarker changes and beneficial effects of storytelling in children admitted to an intensive care unit. We found that, compared with an active control condition, one storytelling session with hospitalized children leads to an increase in oxytocin, a reduction in cortisol and pain, and positive emotional shifts during a free-association task. These multimodal findings support evolutionary theories of storytelling and demonstrate its physiological and psychological effects under naturalistic stress conditions. These important clinical implications affirm storytelling as a low-cost and humanized intervention that can improve the well-being of hospitalized children."
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