Effects of Music Therapy on Self- and Experienced Stigma in Patients on an Acute Care Psychiatric Unit: A Randomized Three Group Effectiveness Study


M. J. Silverman


Archives of Psychiatric Nursing




Stigma is a major social barrier that can restrict access to and willingness to seek psychiatric care. Psychiatric consumers may use secrecy and withdrawal in an attempt to cope with stigma. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of music therapy on self- and experienced stigma in acute care psychiatric inpatients using a randomized design with wait-list control. Participants (N=83) were randomly assigned by cluster to one of three single-session group-based conditions: music therapy, education, or wait-list control. Participants in the music therapy and education conditions completed only posttests while participants in the wait-list control condition completed only pretests. The music therapy condition was a group songwriting intervention wherein participants composed lyrics for "the stigma blues." Results indicated significant differences in measures of discrimination (experienced stigma), disclosure (self-stigma), and total stigma between participants in the music therapy condition and participants in the wait-list control condition. From the results of this randomized controlled investigation, music therapy may be an engaging and effective psychosocial technique to treat stigma. Limitations, suggestions for future research, and implications for clinical practice and psychiatric music therapy research are provided.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Mental Health; Music Medicine; Psychological Outcomes; Self-Concept; Self-Report Measures; Songwriting

Indexed Terms

Mental Disorders; Psychiatric Department, Hospital; Self Disclosure; Stereotyping; Surveys and Questionnaires

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type