Recorded Music in the Mental Health Waiting Room: A Music Medicine Investigation

Eric G. Waldon
Jennifer C. Thom


The impact of music on ameliorating anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing patient satisfaction has been previously established. Given the heightened importance of mental health services in recent years and the perceived stigma associated with seeking psychiatric treatment, music may play an important role in mitigating negative affective states that would otherwise prevent patients from accessing care. The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the effects of recorded music on patient satisfaction and anxiety among adult consumers awaiting a mental health evaluation. This study employed a two-group, cluster-randomized design to investigate the effects of recorded music on adults in an outpatient mental health clinic. Participants in the experimental condition were exposed to a recorded music program for up to 30 min while completing clinical background paperwork. Those in the control condition completed their paperwork without the recorded music program. Two instruments, a researcher-designed Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item Scale, served as the dependent measures. There was a significant effect suggesting that participants in the music group were more satisfied than those in the control condition. There was no such finding for anxiety. This study may provide some empirical support for, and encourage wider spread adoption of, the cost efficient use of music in mental health settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)