Effects of Music Therapy With Patients on a Post-surgical Oncology Unit: A Pilot Study Determining Maintenance of Immediate Gains

Jenna Chaput-McGovern
Michael J. Silverman


Researchers have found that music therapy can be an effective psychosocial intervention for oncology patients. However, due to shortened inpatient hospital stays and the frequency of surgery for patients with cancer, there is a need to determine maintenance of single-session treatment gains with patients on a post-surgical oncology unit. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate maintenance of immediate music therapy treatment gains concerning relaxation, pain, anxiety, nausea, and perception of music therapy with patients on a surgical oncology unit. Participants were adult oncology inpatients (n = 27) and their caregivers (n = 4) receiving care on a surgical oncology unit. Participants completed five separate 10-point Likert-Type Scales at pretest, posttest, and 30–45-min follow-up. Participants received 20-min music therapy sessions consisting of patient-preferred live music. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) were computed on all patient data and indicated significant differences in relaxation, anxiety, and pain between pretest and posttest and pretest and follow-up measures. However, there were no significant differences from posttest to follow-up, indicating maintenance of treatment gains. Although generalizations are premature due to the lack of a comparison condition, it seems that beneficial effects of a single music therapy session for surgical oncology patients may be maintained in the short-term. Limitations, implications for clinical practice, and suggestions for future research are offered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)