Differences between Supportive Music and Imagery and Music Listening during Outpatient Chemotherapy and Potential Moderators of Treatment Effects

Supportive music and imagery as well as music listening are both frequently used interventions with patients going through chemotherapy.  Both have been considered effective in improving mood as well as decreasing distress within patients receiving chemotherapy. However, within this study they wanted to see if there was a difference between the treatment benefits of the two interventions.  In previous studies there were no moderators used to determine if different subgroups of patients would benefit from one intervention more than the other. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of supportive music and imagery with music listening on responsiveness to music therapy, anxiety and depression, distress, and benefit findings.  The second purpose was to identify potential moderators such as coherence and locus of control.

A randomized trial was conducted within two cancer centers.  It was a single session that compared two groups effectiveness. The session lasted 45 minutes.  Data was collected at the the baseline and immediately after the session was completed. Ancova models were utilized to determine the main effects of the intervention.  The Ancova models also paired potential moderators within the different group assignments to explore what about the interventions were different by moderator.

The results concluded that there were differences between the two interventions. The supportive music and imagery scored higher in benefit finding, and responsiveness to music therapy.  The music listening scored lower in distress. The two influences suggested were Health Locus of Control and Internal Sense of Coherence. Therefore, Music and Imagery and Music Listening may serve different purposes therapeutically, access and activate different patient resources, and may demonstrate different benefits at different stages of treatment.   

By Kylie Kirksey, MM, MT-BC

Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 55, Issue 1, 9 March 2018, Pages 83–108,https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/thy001