Effects of Educational Music Therapy on Knowledge of Triggers and Coping Skills, Motivation, and Treatment Eagerness in Patients on a Detoxification Unit: A Three-group Cluster-randomized Effectiveness Study.

Michael J. Silverman


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of educational music therapy on knowledge of triggers and coping skills, motivation, and treatment eagerness in patients on a detoxification unit. Participants were cluster randomized to one of three treatment conditions: educational music therapy, education without music, or recreational music therapy. Participants (N=58) completed brief pre- and posttests to assess knowledge of triggers and coping skills, motivation, and treatment eagerness. Educational music therapy participants were involved in a highly structured group songwriting intervention wherein first verse lyrics concerned triggers for using substances and second verse lyrics concerned positive coping skills. Between-group results were not significant for knowledge of triggers for using substances, coping skills, or treatment eagerness. Regardless of treatment condition, there were significant increases from pre- to posttest on perceptions of motivation to reach and maintain sobriety and treatment eagerness. Concerning motivation for reaching and maintaining sobriety, there was a statistically significant posttest between-group difference: Participants in the educational music therapy condition had significantly higher motivation than participants in education without music or recreational music therapy conditions. Highly structured songwriting interventions concerning triggers for using substances and coping skills may be an engaging and effective way to educate and motivate patients in detoxification and other short-term substance abuse rehabilitation settings. Limitations, implications for clinical practice, and suggestions for future research are provided.