Exploring Influencing Factors of Anxiety Improvement Following Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy in Young Adults with Cancer


Journal of Music Therapy




The purpose of this secondary analysis was to explore physiological, psychological, and situational influencing factors that may affect the impact of a mindfulness-music therapy intervention on anxiety severity in young adults receiving cancer treatment. Young adults receiving cancer treatment for ≥ eight weeks were recruited from adult and pediatric oncology outpatient centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Participants were asked to attend up to four, in-person (offered virtually via Zoom video conference after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic) 45-min mindfulness-based music therapy sessions over twelve weeks with a board-certified music therapist. Participants completed questionnaires about anxiety, stress, and other cancer treatment-related outcomes before and after participating in the intervention. Changes in anxiety (i.e., PROMIS Anxiety 4a) over time were compared among baseline physiological (e.g., age or sex), psychological (e.g., stress), and situational influencing (i.e., intervention delivery format) factors using Wilcoxon-rank sum tests. Thirty-one of the 37 enrolled participants completed the baseline and post-intervention measures and were eligible for inclusion in the secondary analysis. Results revealed that higher baseline physical functioning (median change = −6.65), anxiety (median change=-5.65), fatigue (median change = −5.6), sleep disturbance (median change = −5.6), female sex (median change = −5.15), or virtual intervention delivery (median change = −4.65) were potential physiological, psychological, or situational influencing factors associated with anxiety improvement following mindfulness-based music therapy. Additional investigation into physiological, psychological, or situational influencing factors associated with anxiety response will help to tailor the design of future mindfulness-music therapy interventions to decrease psychological distress and address the unique psychosocial concerns among young adults receiving cancer treatment. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03709225

Music and Health Institute Terms

Mental Health; Wellness and Well-Being; Cancer; Psychological Outcomes; Anxiety; Fatigue; Sleep Quality; Stress; Subjective Measures; Physiological Measures; Children; Hospital Setting; Music Medicine; Music Therapy; Recreative Music Methods; Rhythmic Sensory Stimulation; Receptive Music Methods; Music Listening; Recorded Music LIstenining

Indexed Terms

Intervention; Education; Young adults; Anxiety; Cancer therapies; Mindfulness; Physiology

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantiative Methods

Document Type