Effects of Group-based Educational Songwriting on Craving in Patients on a Detoxification Unit: A Cluster-randomized Effectiveness Study


Psychology of Music




Psychosocial methods for reducing craving are essential for people with substance use disorders. Although songwriting is a commonly-used music therapy intervention for people with addictions, there is no randomized controlled music therapy study systematically investigating how songwriting impacts craving in patients on a detoxification unit. The purpose of this cluster-randomized effectiveness study was to measure the effects of a single group-based educational songwriting intervention on craving with patients on a detoxification unit. To provide treatment to all participants in an inclusive single-session design, participants (N = 129) were cluster-randomized to one of three conditions: educational songwriting targeting relapse prevention and recovery, recreational music therapy targeting social and affective gains, or wait-list control. There was a significant difference (p = .033) in the craving subscale of expectancy between the educational songwriting and control conditions. Although no other difference reached significance, participants in the songwriting condition tended to have lower subscale and total craving mean scores than participants in the control and recreational music therapy conditions. Group-based educational songwriting interventions may temporarily relieve craving by distracting patients in an engaging, motivating, and creative intervention. Implications for clinical practice, suggestions for future research, and limitations are provided. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Detox Setting; Discomfort; Mental Health; Music Medicine; Recreative Music Methods; Relapse Prevention; Self-Report Measures; Songwriting; Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

addiction; craving; detoxification; randomized; songwriting; substance abuse; Group Intervention; Educational Therapy; Psychosocial Rehabilitation; Substance Use Disorder

Study Type

Case-Control Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type