Cultural Differences in Music Chosen for Pain Relief

M. Good
B. L. Picot
S. G. Salem
C. C. Chin
S. F. Picot
D. Lane


Nurses use music therapeutically but often assume that all patients will equally appreciate the same type of music. Cultural differences in music preferences are compared across five pain studies. Music preferences for pain relief are described as the most frequently chosen type of music for each culture. Findings indicate that in four studies, musical choices were related to cultural background (p = .002 to .049). Although the majority in each group chose among the other types of music, Caucasians most frequently chose orchestra music, African Americans chose jazz, and Taiwanese chose harp music. For culturally congruent care, nurses should become aware of cultural differences in music preference and provide culturally specific selections among other music expected to have a therapeutic effect.