The effect of music on decreasing arousal due to stress: a meta-analysis

J Music Ther. 2004 Fall;41(3):192-214. doi: 10.1093/jmt/41.3.192.


A meta-analytic review of research articles using music to decrease arousal due to stress was conducted on 22 quantitative studies. Results demonstrated that music alone and music assisted relaxation techniques significantly decreased arousal (d = +.67). Further analysis of each study revealed that the amount of stress reduction was significantly different when considering age, type of stress, music assisted relaxation technique, musical preference, previous music experience, and type of intervention. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Music*
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*