Journal Article

The Effects of a Single Electronic Music Improvisation Session on the Pain of Adults with Sickle Cell Disease: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study

Samuel N Rodgers-Melnick, Nadine Matthie, Coretta Jenerette, Tara J Griest Pell, Deforia Lane, Pingfu Fu, Seunghee Margevicius and Jane A Little

in Journal of Music Therapy

Volume 55, issue 2, pages 156-185
Published in print June 2018 | ISSN: 0022-2917
Published online May 2018 | e-ISSN: 2053-7395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmt/thy004
The Effects of a Single Electronic Music Improvisation Session on the Pain of Adults with Sickle Cell Disease: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study

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  • Applied Music
  • Music Therapy
  • Music Psychology

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Abstract

Background

Adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience acute pain that is multidimensional. Despite recent improvements in treatment, pain management remains a significant challenge for these individuals. Music therapy interventions have the potential to address several dimensions of SCD pain, but they require systematic investigation.

Objective

This study investigated feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a single-session electronic music improvisation with a music therapist to diminish pain intensity and improve pain relief and mood in adults with SCD.

Methods

Using a three-group mixed methods intervention design, we randomized 60 adults with SCD to standard care plus one of three 20-minute study conditions: 1) electronic music improvisation with a music therapist (MT); 2) recorded music listening (ML); or 3) no intervention (control). Measures of pain intensity (VASPI), pain relief (VASPR), and mood (VASMOOD) were assessed before and after the study conditions, with a subset of MT and ML participants interviewed after measure completion.

Results

Compared to control, MT produced significant improvements in VASPI (odds ratio (OR) = 5.12, P = 0.035) and VASMOOD (OR = 11.60, P = 0.005). ML produced significant improvements in VASMOOD compared to control (OR = 5.76, P = 0.040). Qualitatively, there were two prominent themes directly related to music: 1) ML and MT offered many positive and few negative effects; and 2) music therapists provided comfort beyond the music.

Conclusions

Preliminary findings were promising and support the need for additional studies evaluating improvisational music therapy interventions for acute pain management in adults with SCD.

Keywords: music therapy; sickle cell disease; pain; mood; mixed methods research

Journal Article.  9228 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Applied Music ; Music Therapy ; Music Psychology

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