Zhou, K.N., Li, X.M., Yan, H., Dang, S.N., & Wang, D.L. (2011). Effects of music therapy on depression and duration of hospital stay of breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy. Chinese Medical Journal, 124(15), 2321–2327.
To study the effects of music therapy on depression in female patients with breast cancer after radical mastectomy; to study how music therapy affects duration of hospital stay
Subjects were randomly assigned to a music or usual-care group (control). Investigators collected data on the day before radical mastectomy (pretest), the day before hospital discharge (first post-test), and at the second and third hospital admissions for chemotherapy (second and third post-tests). Different chemo intervals meant that the second and third post-tests were between 14 and 28 days; the mean time was 18.6 days (SD = 7.4 days). Total intervention time involved the hospital stay after radical mastectomy (mean 13.6 days [SD = 2 days]) and the two chemotherapy periods (the mean time of each period was 8.9 days (SD = 7.1 days). The experimental group received an introduction to music, and participants selected preferred music. Each participant listened to his or her choice of music through headphones connected to an MP3 player. Participants listened to music twice a day, 30 minutes each time. Investigators did not offer music to the control group.
Randomized controlled trial with repeated measures
Postmastectomy, depression scores of the experimental group were lower than those of the control group, and duration of hospital stay was shorter for patients receiving music therapy. However, lack of data regarding actual use of music therapy by patients and lack of information regarding patients’ health status and other types of treatment preclude recommendation of music therapy without further study.
When caring for patients with breast cancer who are suffering from mood disturbance, nurses should select interventions whose evidence of mood-disturbance reduction is greater than the evidence of effect that listening to music presents. However, listening to music is a low-risk, low-cost intervention that might be helpful to some patients.