Evaluation of the Effects of Music and Poetry in Oncologic Pain Relief: A Randomized Clinical Trial


Journal of Palliative Medicine




BACKGROUND: Various forms of art therapy have been tested as adjuvants in the treatment of physical and emotional disorders, including music and poetry. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of passive listening to music and poetry on the variation in pain, depression, and hope scores. METHODS: This was a randomized trial, with multiple aspects and an allocation ratio of 1:1:1, in which one group listened to music, one group listened to poetry, and another group received no intervention over a period of three days. A total of 75 adult patients experiencing pain and hospitalized in a cancer facility were included. The study was conducted over a period of three months. The primary outcome consisted of pain evaluation using a Visual Analog Scale, and the secondary outcomes consisted of evaluations of depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and hope (Herth Hope Scale). RESULTS: The final sample consisted of 65 participants, with 22 in the music group, 22 in the poetry group, and 21 controls. Music promoted an improvement in pain (p < 0.001) and depression (p = 0.004), while poetry promoted an improvement in pain (p < 0.001), depression (p = 0.001), and hope (p = 0.009). However, a difference between the music and poetry groups and the control group after the study was only observed for the pain outcome (p < 0.001) (confidence interval = 95%). CONCLUSIONS: Both music and poetry produced a similar improvement in the pain intensity. The two therapies also affected depression scores, and only poetry increased hope scores. Further investigation of the effects and comparisons between the two therapies should be performed.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Cancer; Depression; Hospitalized Patients; Mood; Mood Scales; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Pain Severity; Palliative Care; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures; Terminally Ill; Visual Analog Scale (VAS)

Indexed Terms

Pain; Pain Management; Pain Measurement

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type