Comparing Music Therapy Interventions in Adults with Substance Use Disorder on a Detoxification Unit as Measured by the Group Relationship: A Three-Group Cluster-Randomized Study


International Journal of Systemic Therapy




Social connectedness and related relational constructs can facilitate recovery in adults with substance use disorder (SUD). To date, there is a lack of research differentiating music therapy interventions as measured by the group relationship among peers within an inpatient detoxification setting for adults with SUD. The purpose of this study was to compare three commonly used group music therapy interventions in adults with SUD by measuring the group relationship Participants (N = 103) were adults with SUD hospitalized on an inpatient detoxification unit. The researcher cluster-randomized participants to one of three single-session group music therapy conditions: lyric analysis (LA), recreational music therapy (RMT), or songwriting (SW). Participants completed pre- and posttest measures of the group relationship. All conditions had favorable mean group relationship changes from pre- to posttest. There were significant between-group differences in the positive bonding relationship and positive working relationship subscales between the SW and RMT conditions. There was a significant between-group difference in the negative relationship scale between the RMT and both the LA and SW conditions. Despite the temporal limitations of single-session therapy common on detoxification units, this study has clinical implications because of the relevance of social connectedness and group relationships among adults with SUD. As the SW condition outperformed the RMT condition in all three group relationship subscales and has support regarding other SUD-related constructs, SW may constitute an ideal intervention in adult detoxification settings. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction; Interpersonal Relations; Subjective Measures; Hospital Setting; Music Therapy; Composition; Songwriting; Song Lyric Discussion

Indexed Terms

Substance use disorder; addiction; songwriting; detoxification; group relationship; lyric analysis; social connectedness

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type