fbpx

A Meta-Analysis of Scholarly Articles on Music Therapy and Major Depression

- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:

A Meta-Analysis of Scholarly Articles on Music Therapy and Major Depression

Music therapy is a psychological treatment that uses music to promote positive moods and cognitive functions, reduce pain and distress, and enhance quality of life. It has proven safe and effective for many physical and mental health problems; thus it has become widely adopted across different settings and populations (see our overview for more details).

Psychological outcomes are commonly assessed using self-report questionnaires such as the Beck Depression Inventory, Children’s Depression Inventory or Clinical Depression Scale for Adolescents. These instruments have become popular among therapists in both the United States and Canada due to their ease of use, low cost and reliable nature.

Studies have examined the impact of music therapy on depression among a variety of populations (Aalbers et al., 2017; Snape, 2020; Sandak et al., 2019), but few have explored whether musical interaction leads to change in clients with primary diagnoses of depression.

In this study, we sought to uncover the pattern of musical interaction during music therapy sessions and whether this pattern could predict depression improvement for depressed clients. To do this, we searched scholarly articles published in scientific journals between 1983 and May 2020 using PubMed, Ovid-Embase, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases and identified 55 RCTs that evaluated music therapy’s impact on depression.

This meta-analysis examined studies involving adults with major depression diagnosed, conducted both inpatient and outpatient settings. Most of the included studies involved a certified music therapist providing therapy through music.

Participants listened to pre-designed music programs while in an altered state of consciousness and simultaneously engaged with the therapist. Studies have reported that this unfolding imagery experience was beneficial and supportive (Hammer, 1996; McKinney et al., 1997; McKinney and Honig, 2017).

Receptive methods refer to those techniques in which a therapist guides their client through an experience of unfolding imagery and emotions. A common receptive approach involves music, such as The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM; Grocke & Bruscia, 2002).

We found that the combination of active and receptive music therapy was associated with a moderate-sized mean effect in terms of decreasing depressive symptoms (I2 = 83%, P0.001) (Fig 3). The Small Mean Difference (SMD) was -0.88; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) -1.32 to -0.44; P0.001).

This effect was especially apparent when active and receptive methods were combined with other music-based interventions, such as acoustic therapy or chanting. Music therapy practitioners who take a holistic approach should find these findings especially pertinent.

In a meta-analysis of 55 studies, we compared the effects of active and receptive music therapy on depressive symptoms. Results indicated that music therapy was associated with a moderate but significant reduction in symptoms among adults diagnosed with depression. Further, it was discovered that combined active-receptive therapy had more of an impact than either single intervention in relieving depressive symptoms.

Sign up here to try or learn about sound therapy that lowers anxiety, insomnia, pain, insomnia, and tinnitus an average of 77%.


- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:
SoundTherapy.com