The effects of interactive music therapy on hospitalized children with cancer: a pilot study.Psychooncology. 2002 Sep-Oct; 11(5):379-88.P
The use of music therapy with children in health settings has been documented, but its effectiveness has not yet been well established. This pilot study is a preliminary exploration of the effectiveness of interactive music therapy in reducing anxiety and increasing the comfort of hospitalized children with cancer.
Pre- and post-music therapy measures were obtained from children (N = 65) and parents. The measures consisted of children's ratings of mood using schematic faces, parental ratings of the child's play performance, and satisfaction questionnaires completed by parents, children and staff.
There was a significant improvement in children's ratings of their feelings from pre- to post-music therapy. Parents perceived an improved play performance after music therapy in pre-schoolers and adolescents but not in school-aged children. Qualitative analyses of children's and parents' comments suggested a positive impact of music therapy on the child's well-being.
These preliminary findings are encouraging and suggest beneficial effects of interactive music therapy with hospitalized pediatric hematology/oncology patients. In future studies replicating these findings should be conducted in a randomized control trial.