Ethnicity, Music Experience, and Depression

Paul D. Werner PhD
Alan J. Swope PhD
Frederick J. Heide PhD


The researchers studied differences in self-reported music experience and depression across ethnic groups, as well as differences in the relationship between music experience and depression across groups. College participants (78 African Americans, 111 Asian Americans, 218 Whites, and 87 in other ethnic groups) completed the Music Experience Questionnaire (MEQ) and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. Statistically significant differences across groups were found on depression as well as on the MEQ factor for Subjective/Physical Reactions to music and on MEQ scales for Commitment to Music, Affective Reactions, Positive Psychotropic Effects, and Reactive Musical Behavior. A distinctive pattern of relationship was found between music variables and depression in the Asian American group, relative to the White and Other group. In particular, among Asian Americans there were negative correlations between depression and the MEQ Subjective/ Physical Reactions factor as well as the Affective Reactions scale. Implications were discussed for the literature on ethnicity and depression, music experience, and music therapy. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]