Music Therapy as Procedural Support for Young Children Undergoing Immunizations: A Randomized Controlled Study


O. S. Yinger


Journal of Music Therapy




BACKGROUND: Children undergoing routine immunizations frequently experience severe distress, which may be improved through music therapy as procedural support. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine effects of live, cognitive-behavioral music therapy during immunizations on (a) the behaviors of children, their parents, and their nurses; and (b) parental perceptions. METHODS: Participants were children between the ages of 4 and 6 years (N = 58) who underwent immunizations, their parents (N = 62), and the nurses who administered the procedure (N = 19). Parent/child dyads were randomly assigned to receive music therapy (n = 29) or standard care (n = 29) during their immunization. Afterward, each parent rated their child's level of pain and the distress their child experienced compared to previous medical experiences. All procedures were videotaped and later viewed by trained observers, who classified child, parent, and nurse behaviors using the categories of the Child-Adult Medical Procedure Interaction Scale-Revised (CAMPIS-R). RESULTS: Significant differences between the music therapy and control groups were found in rates of child coping and distress behaviors and parent distress-promoting behaviors. Parents of children who received music therapy reported that their child's level of distress was less than during previous medical experiences, whereas parents of children in the control group reported that their child's level of distress was greater. No significant differences between groups were found in parents' ratings of children's pain or in rates of nurse behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Live, cognitive-behavioral music therapy has potential benefits for young children and their parents during immunizations.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Children; Coping; Distress; Immunizations; Invasive Medical Procedures; Live Music Listening; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Music and Cognition; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Procedural Pain; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures

Indexed Terms

Adaptation, Psychological; Attitude of Health Personnel; Children; Child, Preschool; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Immunization; Nurse-Patient Relations; Nurses; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Pain; Parents; Stress; Vaccination; children; immunization; pain; parents

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type