Ferrer, A.J. (2007). The effect of live music on decreasing anxiety in patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Journal of Music Therapy, 44, 242–255.
To investigate the effects of live music on anxiety levels of patients undergoing treatment with chemotherapy
Possible participants were approached by the researcher at the beginning of a chemotherapy treatment session. Consenting patients completed questionnaires and were randomly assigned to the control group or to receive live music. The live music consisted of 20 minutes of singing with guitar accompaniment. During the intervention, patients were encouraged to sing along and to request other preferred songs. Control group patients completed questionnaires but had no other contact with the researcher. After 20 minutes, both groups completed a second questionnaire.
A randomized controlled trial design was used.
Mean anxiety declined in the experimental group, and increased in the control group. These changes were significantly different between groups (p = 0.009). Responses regarding fear (p = 0.047), relaxation (p = 0.004), and fatigue (p = 0.001) also showed a similar difference. There were no significant differences in heart rate or blood pressure changes between groups. Many patients in the experimental group were involved in the music with hand clapping, etc. Patients who received the music therapy stated that it made the time pass more quickly.
Use of live music may be helpful to patients who are receiving chemotherapy to manage anxiety related to the treatment.
Findings suggest that distractions such as live music as provided here can be helpful to patients during chemotherapy. This is a low-risk intervention that might be of benefit for some patients.