Examining the Effects of Music-based Interventions on Pain and Anxiety in Hospitalized Children: An Integrative Review


Journal of Pediatric Nursing




PROBLEM: Children often experience pain and anxiety during a hospital stay. Effective pain and anxiety management plays a crucial role in healing. However, recent literature has highlighted multiple barriers to managing pain and anxiety in children, such as parent and provider fears of the adverse effects of pain and anxiety medications. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: A database search was conducted for articles published between 2009 and 2019 to evaluate the impact of nurse-led, music-based interventions as an adjunct method of pain and anxiety management in hospitalized children. Articles were included if study subjects were ages 0-21 years old, the study used live or recorded music as an intervention, and occurred in an inpatient setting. SAMPLE: A total of seven randomized control trials and one quasi-experimental study were included for analysis. RESULTS: There is consistent and significant evidence that music can reduce anxiety in hospitalized children before and during procedures. Results with respect to pain and vital signs, often viewed as the physiologic analogs to pain, were mixed. CONCLUSIONS: Music-based interventions are safe for hospitalized children. Several studies highlighted the importance of patient preference in selecting music for children. A heavy reliance on pre-recorded audio, delivered via headphones illustrates the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of music-based interventions. IMPLICATIONS: Nurse-led, music-based interventions have been shown to be an affordable, safe, effective, and feasible alternative for managing anxiety in hospitalized children. Music should be considered as an adjunct therapy to traditional anxiety treatment. Further research is needed to determine the effects of music on pain.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Adolescents; Anxiety; Children; Hospital Setting; Hospitalized Patients; Infants; Live Music Listening; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Newborn Infants; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Recorded Music Listening; Vital Signs

Indexed Terms

Adolescents; Anxiety; Anxiety Disorders; Children; Child, Hospitalized; Child, Preschool; Infants; Newborn Infants; Pain; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Anxiety; Hospitalization; Nurse-led; Pain; receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or; not-for-profit sectors. A portion of this content was presented at the Nursing for; Children Network Regional Pediatric Nursing Conference held virtually in October; 2020.

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Systematic Review

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