Active Versus Receptive Group Music Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder-a Pilot Study


Complementary Therapies in Medicine




OBJECTIVES: To compare the effects of 1) active group music therapy and 2) receptive group music therapy to group counseling in treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). DESIGN & SETTING: On top of standard care, 14 MDD outpatients were randomly assigned to receive 1) active group music therapy (n=5), 2) receptive group music therapy (n=5), or 3) group counseling (n=4). There were 12 one-hour weekly group sessions in each arm. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants were assessed at baseline, 1 month (after 4 sessions), 3 months (end of interventions), and 6 months. Primary outcomes were depressive scores measured by Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) Thai version. Secondary outcomes were self-rated depression score and quality of life. RESULTS: At 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months, both therapy groups showed statistically non-significant reduction in MADRS Thai scores when compared with the control group (group counseling). The reduction was slightly greater in the active group than the receptive group. Although there were trend toward better outcomes on self-report depression and quality of life, the differences were not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: Group music therapy, either active or receptive, is an interesting adjunctive treatment option for outpatients with MDD. The receptive group may reach peak therapeutic effect faster, but the active group may have higher peak effect. Group music therapy deserves further comprehensive studies.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Depression; Depressive Disorder; Mental Health; Mood Disorders; Mood Scales; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Quality of Life; Recorded Music Listening; Recreative Music Methods; Self-Report Measures

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Depressive Disorder, Major; Pilot Projects; Psychological Tests; Active group music therapy; Major depressive disorder; Receptive group music therapy

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Randomized Controlled Trial

PubMed ID


Document Type