A systematic review of music-induced substance craving


Musicae Scientiae




Background:Conditioning- and cue-induced craving theories indicate that music has the potential to induce substance craving. A better understanding of this phenomenon could enhance treatment and prevent misuse, relapse, and overdose.Objective:The purpose of this systematic review was to locate and examine studies using music to induce substance craving in humans. We sought to discover if music can induce substance craving as well as specific aspects of the music and how it was used.Method:Adhering to the PRISMA Statement and Checklist, we conducted a systematic review of literature on music-induced substance craving in nine databases. We extracted data from studies meeting our inclusion criteria, which related to substance craving induced by music and data based on music intervention reporting guidelines.Results:We reviewed 751 research outputs. A total of 33 articles meeting the inclusion criteria were found, indicating that various types of music can induce alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, and general substance craving. In most of the studies, music was used as a component of a mood induction technique or in a virtual reality setting that led to craving. There tended to be a lack of detail about the music itself and most authors did not adhere to music intervention reporting guidelines. In the majority of studies, the researchers selected the music to induce negative mood states so as to elicit craving.Conclusion:Music has the potential to induce substance craving. While the music used in studies varied considerably and tended to be well controlled from a research design perspective, the music was not based on the music psychology literature, and authors did not adequately report essential aspects of the music. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction; Alcohol Use, Abuse and Addiction; Mood; Relapse Prevention; Music Therapy

Study Type

Systematic Review; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Document Type