Use of Preferred Music to Reduce Emotional Distress and Symptom Activity During Radiation Therapy


Journal of Music Therapy




Music therapy has decreased anxiety levels in many medical settings. This randomized clinical trial examined the effectiveness of a music listening intervention, delivered by a board-certified music therapist, in patients undergoing curative radiation therapy (RT). Emotional distress (anxiety, depression, and treatment-related distress) and symptoms (fatigue and pain) were measured at baseline, mid-treatment, and end of treatment in 63 patients undergoing RT. Although patients who listened to self-selected music reported lower anxiety and treatment-related distress, there was a decline in these outcomes for patients in both groups over the course of RT. Depression, fatigue, and pain were not appreciably affected by music therapy. Within the music group, there was a significant correlation between number of times music was used/week and the change in treatment-related distress, suggesting that higher doses of music produced greater declines in distress. While these findings provided some support for the use of music in reducing distress during RT, further research demonstrating clear differences between intervention and control conditions is needed. Physical symptoms were not affected by the use of music over the course of RT. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Anxiety Scales; Cancer; Depression; Distress; Fatigue; Music Listening; Music Therapy; Noninvasive Procedures; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Procedural Pain; Radiation Therapy; Receptive Music Methods; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures; Symptom Management

Indexed Terms

Cancer; Medical treatment; Studies; Hair loss; Quality of life; Skin; Intervention; Data collection; Radiation therapy; Side effects; Sample size; Emotions; Stress; Radiotherapy; Stress; Neoplasms; Radiotherapy; Statistics, Nonparametric; Depression; Elderly; Pain Measurement; Anxiety; Stress; Depression; Neoplasms; Anxiety

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID

223564890; 17037953

Document Type