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Effects of music therapy for children and adolescents with psychopathology: a meta-analysis.

26 Jul
Norwegian researchers from Sogn og Fjordane University looked at eleven studies on the impact of music therapy on children and adolescents with various forms of psychopathology and mental health problems. There was special interest in how the type of pathology, the child’s age and the kind of music therapy approach influenced the outcome.

There were a total of 188 subjects in the collection of eleven relevant studies found. Effect sizes from these studies were combined, with weighting for sample size, and their distribution was examined.
After exclusion of one extreme positive outlying value, the analysis revealed that music therapy has a medium to large positive effect (ES =.61) on clinically relevant outcomes that was statistically highly significant (p <.001) and statistically homogeneous. No evidence of a publication bias was identified. Effects tended to be greater for behavioral and developmental disorders than for emotional disorders. It was also greater for eclectic, psychodynamic, and humanistic approaches than for behavioral models. And it was greater for behavioral and developmental outcomes than for social skills and self-concept. The meta-analysis therefore concludes that music therapy indeed has positive effects on children and teens suffering variously from mental health problems.

Citation: Gold C, Voracek M, Wigram T. Effects of music therapy for children and adolescents with psychopathology: a meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2004 Sep; 45 (6): pp. 1054-63.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award