A music intervention to reduce anxiety prior to gastrointestinal procedures

Gastroenterol Nurs. 2003 Jul-Aug;26(4):145-9. doi: 10.1097/00001610-200307000-00002.


Patients scheduled for gastrointestinal procedures such as colonoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy are often anxious and frightened. High levels of anxiety may result in more difficult and painful procedures. Past research has reported education, coping skills, relaxation techniques, and combinations of these including music, have decreased anxiety in patients across many settings. Self-selected music therapy for preprocedural anxiety has not been studied. A randomized controlled trial of 198 patients was undertaken to determine whether 15 minutes of self-selected music reduced preprocedure anxiety. The State Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to measure patients' anxiety. One-hundred ninety-three men and 5 women comprised the sample with an average age of 61 (SD 10.5). Patients who listened to music (n = 100) reduced their anxiety score from 36.7 (SD 9.1) to 32.3 (SD 10.4), while those who did not listen to music (n = 98) reduced their anxiety score from 36.1 (SD 8.3) to 34.6 (SD 11.5). These differences were statistically significant (F = 7.5, p =.007) after controlling for trait anxiety. There were no significant vital sign changes premusic and postmusic. Music is a noninvasive nursing intervention that can significantly reduce patients' anxiety prior to gastrointestinal procedures. Further research should address using music to reduce anxiety in other procedure areas and testing effectiveness of self-selected versus investigator-selected music in reducing anxiety.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / nursing*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonoscopy* / psychology
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System* / psychology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Research Design
  • Test Anxiety Scale