Journal Article

Development of the Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Advanced Huntington’s Disease: A Pilot Validation Study

Julian O’Kelly and Rebeka Bodak

in Journal of Music Therapy

Volume 53, issue 3, pages 232-256
Published in print January 2016 | ISSN: 0022-2917
Published online June 2016 | e-ISSN: 2053-7395 | DOI:
Development of the Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Advanced Huntington’s Disease: A Pilot Validation Study

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  • Applied Music
  • Music Therapy
  • Music Psychology


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Case studies of people with Huntington’s disease (HD) report that music therapy provides a range of benefits that may improve quality of life; however, no robust music therapy assessment tools exist for this population.


Develop and conduct preliminary psychometric testing of a music therapy assessment tool for patients with advanced HD.


First, we established content and face validity of the Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Advanced HD (MATA-HD) through focus groups and field testing. Second, we examined psychometric properties of the resulting MATA-HD in terms of its construct validity, internal consistency, and inter-rater and intra-rater reliability over 10 group music therapy sessions with 19 patients.


The resulting MATA-HD included a total of 15 items across six subscales (Arousal/Attention, Physical Presentation, Communication, Musical, Cognition, and Psychological/Behavioral). We found good construct validity (r ≥ 0.7) for Mood, Communication Level, Communication Effectiveness, Choice, Social Behavior, Arousal, and Attention items. Cronbach’s α of 0.825 indicated good internal consistency across 11 items with a common focus of engagement in therapy. The inter-rater reliability (IRR) Intra-Class Coefficient (ICC) scores averaged 0.65, and a mean intra-rater ICC reliability of 0.68 was obtained. Further training and retesting provided a mean of IRR ICC of 0.7.


Preliminary data indicate that the MATA-HD is a promising tool for measuring patient responses to music therapy interventions across psychological, physical, social, and communication domains of functioning in patients with advanced HD.

Keywords: Huntington’s disease; music therapy; assessment tool; validation

Journal Article.  7679 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Applied Music ; Music Therapy ; Music Psychology

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