Background: The use of music therapy with children in health settings has been documented, but its effectiveness has not yet been well established. This pilot study is a preliminary exploration of the effectiveness of interactive music therapy in reducing anxiety and increasing the comfort of hospitalized children with cancer.
Methods: Pre- and post-music therapy measures were obtained from children (N = 65) and parents. The measures consisted of children's ratings of mood using schematic faces, parental ratings of the child's play performance, and satisfaction questionnaires completed by parents, children and staff.
Results: There was a significant improvement in children's ratings of their feelings from pre- to post-music therapy. Parents perceived an improved play performance after music therapy in pre-schoolers and adolescents but not in school-aged children. Qualitative analyses of children's and parents' comments suggested a positive impact of music therapy on the child's well-being.
Conclusions: These preliminary findings are encouraging and suggest beneficial effects of interactive music therapy with hospitalized pediatric hematology/oncology patients. In future studies replicating these findings should be conducted in a randomized control trial.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.