Journal Article

Effects of Music Therapy in the Form of Patient-Preferred Live Music on Mood and Pain with Patients on a Solid Organ Transplant Unit: A Randomized Pilot Study

Olivia Bergh and Michael J Silverman

in Music Therapy Perspectives

Published on behalf of American Music Therapy Association

Volume 36, issue 1, pages 129-130
Published in print April 2018 | ISSN: 0734-6875
Published online January 2018 | e-ISSN: 2053-7387 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mtp/mix027
Effects of Music Therapy in the Form of Patient-Preferred Live Music on Mood and Pain with Patients on a Solid Organ Transplant Unit: A Randomized Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background

Organ transplantation is a potentially lifesaving intervention for individuals experiencing end-stage organ failure. However, many organ transplant patients experience challenges and stressors throughout the organ transplantation process, which can negatively impact recovery (Olbrisch, Benedict, Ashe, & Levenson, 2002). These challenges and stressors can result in increased anxiety and negative mood states among transplant recipients (Campbell & Etringer, 1999).

Related Literature

Researchers have found that music therapy can be effective for improving mood and positive affect (Crawford, Hogan, & Silverman, 2013; Ghetti, 2011; Hogan & Silverman, 2015) and pain (Ghetti, 2011; Hogan & Silverman, 2015; Madson & Silverman, 2010) among organ transplant patients. Patient-preferred live music (PPLM), a music therapy intervention in which music is selected by the patient and performed live by the music therapist, is an effective and preferred intervention among adult medical patients (Silverman, Letwin, & Nuehring, 2016). There is a small but growing body of research regarding the use of PPLM specifically with organ transplant patients (Crawford et al., 2013; Hogan & Silverman, 2015; Madson & Silverman, 2010).

Objective

The purpose of this randomized effectiveness pilot study was to determine the effects of a single session of music therapy in the form of PPLM on mood and pain among patients on a solid organ transplant unit. Specific research questions were: Are there between-group differences in mood resultant of a single PPLM session with patients on a solid organ transplant unit? Are there between-group differences in pain resultant of a single PPLM session with patients on a solid organ transplant unit?

Methods

Research participants (N = 20) were randomly assigned to experimental or wait-list control conditions via a computer program. Patients in the experimental condition received a single music therapy session in the form of PPLM and completed both pre- and posttest measures of mood and pain. Participants in the control group first completed pretest measures, waited 20–30 minutes, completed the posttest, and then received an equivalent session of PPLM. Pre- and posttest measures consisted of the Quick Mood Scale (QMS) (Woodruffe-Peacock, Turnbull, Johnson, Elahi, & Preston, 1998), used to assess six dimensions of subjective mood, and a 10-point Likert-type Pain Scale. In an attempt to control the independent variable, each patient who received PPLM was provided with a song menu consisting of 42 songs from a variety of musical genres.

Results

There was no significant between-group difference in pretest measures of mood. However, there was a significant between-group difference for pretest measures of pain (p = .006), with experimental participants indicating higher pain than control participants. Analyses of variance on posttest data with pretest data as covariates (ANCOVA) indicated significant between-group differences in four of the six dimensions of mood: relaxed/anxious, cheerful/depressed, wide awake/drowsy, and well coordinated/clumsy (all p < .05), with experimental participants reporting more favorable mood states. Concerning research question 2, there was also a significant between-group difference in pain (p = .001). Experimental participants’ mean pain scores tended to decrease from pretest to posttest, while those of control participants tended to increase from pretest to posttest.

Conclusions

Due to significant between-group differences in posttest mood and pain measures, a single session of music therapy in the form of PPLM can be an immediately effective receptive intervention for improving both mood and pain among patients on a solid organ transplant unit. However, caution should be exercised in generalizing the results of this study due to the relatively small sample size, between-group differences in length of hospitalization and pain at pretest, and the principal investigator’s dual role of clinician and researcher.

Implications for Clinical Practice

Implications for clinical practice include the use of music therapy interventions such as PPLM to immediately impact mood and pain in organ transplant patients. These factors are important, as researchers have noted that improved psychosocial functioning can lead to favorable outcomes during post-transplant recovery and rehabilitation (Olbrisch et al., 2002). The existence of a significant between-group difference in posttest measures of pain, favoring experimental participants, contributes to the literature concerning beneficial impacts of music therapy on pain (Lee, 2016) and has implications for addressing pain without using pharmacological interventions. As many adult medical patients may be unwell, fatigued, or have movement limitations due to recent surgeries, PPLM represents a preferred and effective receptive intervention capable of immediately and positively impacting mood and pain.

Implications for Future Research

In addition to using a larger sample size, future investigators could also increase the music therapy dosage and then track more traditional data, including length of stay, re-hospitalizations, medication usage, and quality of life. Additionally, as the current researchers used self-report measures, future researchers might use bio-physiological measures, including cortisol. Future investigations might attempt to differentiate music therapy in the form of PPLM from music medicine. Researchers could also consider using music therapy and PPLM-based derivatives in a more psychoeducational and therapeutic manner to not only positively impact mood, but also impact healthy lifestyles post-transplant procedure. Target variables could include coping, hope, recovery, and resilience. Future research regarding the effects of music therapy on pain is warranted, especially as hospital guidelines continue to incorporate nonpharmacological options for pain management (Wells, Pasero, & McCaffery, 2008).

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Subjects: Applied Music ; Music Therapy ; Music Psychology

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