Quantitative Comparison of Group-based Music Therapy Experiences in an Acute Care Adult Mental Health Setting: A Four-group Cluster-randomized Study

Michael J. Silverman


Introduction: Acute care mental health inpatients have the expertise to evaluate different group-based music therapy interventions. Moreover, from an objectivist worldview, there is a need for data concerning non-symptom measures that are specific to group-based music therapy experiences using randomized designs. The purpose of this posttest-only study is to compare how adult acute care mental health inpatients rated group experiences of three different types of educational music therapy for illness management and recovery (EMT-IMR) interventions and a recreational music therapy (RMT) intervention. Methods: Participants (N = 91) were cluster-randomized to one of four single-session group-based conditions: EMT-IMR-songwriting, EMT-IMR-lyric analysis, EMT-IMR-social story, or RMT-music therapy game. Results: There were significant between-group differences concerning RMT and EMT-IMR (both lyric analysis and songwriting conditions) in the sharing of emotions and experiences subscale. Participants in the EMT-IMR conditions rated this subscale higher than participants in the RMT condition. Although no other difference was significant, descriptive statistics tended to favor the three EMT-IMR conditions. Group experiences descriptive data from people in community mental health services from a previous study were also compared with data collected in the current study. Results indicated tendencies for the three EMT-IMR conditions to have slightly higher mean group experiences scores across all subscales than participants in the non-music therapy community mental health services condition. Discussion: Specifically targeting illness management and recovery via EMT-IMR may be practical, effective, and constitute an ideal model within acute care mental health facilities. Limitations, suggestions for future inquiry, and implications for clinical practice are provided. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)