Effect of Music Therapy on the Anxiety Levels and Sleep Patterns of Abused Women in Shelters


Journal of Music Therapy




The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of a music therapy procedure (music listening paired with progressive muscle relaxation) on the reduction of anxiety and improvement of sleep patterns in abused women in shelters. Twenty-eight women residing in 2 domestic violence shelters in a Midwestern city met with the researcher on 5 consecutive days for half-hour sessions. A pretest-posttest design with control and experimental groups was used. The dependent variables included: stait anxiety measured by the STAI (Spielberger et al., 1983) before and after each music stimulus, sleep quality as measured by the PSQI (Buysse et al., 1989) on the first and last sessions, and levels of fatigue as measured by the Fatigue Scale (Lee, 1992) at waking time. The independent variable was a 20-minute recording of participant-selected music with a Progressive Muscle Relaxation script. Results indicated that music therapy constituted an effective method for reducing anxiety levels. Results also indicated a significant effect on sleep quality for the experimental group, but not for the control group. No significant relationships were found between anxiety levels and sleep quality, nor fatigue levels and sleep quality. These results seem promising in the light of domestic violence research, which has found that a greater amount of personal resources is a crucial aspect of abused women's recovery process. Reduction of anxiety and improvement of sleep quality can be considered as increased personal resources, and seem feasible through the use of music therapy. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Music and Health Institute Terms

Abuse; Anxiety; Fatigue; Gender Disparities; Intimate Partner Violence; Muscle Relaxation; Music in Combination with Other Techniques; Music Therapy; Relaxation; Sleep Quality

Indexed Terms

Adult abuse & neglect; Women; Sleep; Anxiety; Sleep Initiation & Maintenance Disorders; Sleep Initiation & Maintenance Disorders; Stress; Case-Control Studies; Crime Victims; Midwestern United States; Questionnaires; Anxiety; Fatigue; Adaptation, Psychological; Crime Victims; Anxiety; Battered Women; Public Housing

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type