The Effects of Clinical Music Therapy on Resiliency in Adults Undergoing Infusion: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

John F. Mondanaro, Gabriel A. Sara, Roshni Thachil, Marija Pranjić, Andrew Rossetti, Grace EunHye Sim, Bernardo Canga, Ilene Brodoff Harrison, Joanne V. Loewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context: Eighty-seven patients newly diagnosed with lung, breast, or gastrointestinal cancer and undergoing chemotherapy in the infusion suite of a large urban hospital in New York City. Objective: Patients were enrolled in this study of music therapy's impact on resilience in coping with the impact of symptoms inclusive of symptom clustering. Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to three arms: clinical instrumental improvisation or clinical vocal improvisation 43 subjects to instrumental improvisation or vocal improvisation and 44 subjects to control. All subjects received a Medical Music Psychotherapy Assessment including psychosocial information and music preferences, pre-/post-Resilience Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Visual Analogue Scale/Faces Scale, and a pain—Color Analysis Scale. Interventions included 20-minute music therapy (MT) and two additional sessions. Results: Significant increases in Resilience Scale in MT groups after treatment with instrumental and vocal MT interventions equally potent-reflect average changes of 3.4 and 4.83 (P = 0.625), respectively. Although Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores showed little impact of MT on perceived anxiety/depression, a strong correlation is seen between vocal intervention and lower depression scores through Visual Analogue Scale–rendered postsessions. This yielded a significant decrease in pain levels immediately after MT, with the final session showing the most significant change in pain level. Resilience in enduring procedures is a necessary component of combating potential negative illness perception. Conclusion: Our study shows MT's facility to propel resilience in patients newly diagnosed with cancer, particularly when promoting and pairing adaptation toward coping through the expression of perceived negative effects of emotional and physiological symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1108
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • music therapy
  • oncology
  • resilience
  • symptom clustering


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