Massage decreases aggression in preschool children: a long-term study

Acta Paediatr. 2008 Sep;97(9):1265-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.00919.x.


Aim: To evaluate the effects of massage in 4- to 5-year-old children with aggression and deviant behaviour at day-care centres.

Method: The children received daily massage in preschool at the midday rest (n = 60). The controls were listening to a story (n = 50). The Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) was used to rate the children's behaviour by parents and staff before the treatment started, and after 3 and 6 months. A long-term evaluation was also carried out. It included all massaged children still in daycare after 12 months (n = 34).

Results: Children with high scores of behaviour problems, receiving massage and/or extra attention showed significant decrease in aggression scores after 3 months, but after 6 months significantly lowered scores were only found in massage-treated deviant children. Parents of the children receiving massage rated a significant decrease of somatic problems of their children. Staff rated that the massaged children's social problems decreased, compared to the control children. Attention problems tended to decrease, especially at home. A continuous decrease in aggressive behaviour and somatic problems over a 12-month period was observed in the children receiving massage.

Conclusion: Daily touching by massage lasting for 5-10 min could be an easy and inexpensive way to decrease aggression among preschool children.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Social Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome