Introduction: A previous study (carried out in 2003-2004) had included 34 patients with traumatic brain injury in order to study the feasibility and usefulness of music therapy in patients with this type of injury.
Objective: To evaluate the effect of music therapy on mood, anxiety and depression in institutionalised patients with traumatic brain injury.
Study methodology: A prospective, observational study.
Materials and methods: Thirteen patients with traumatic brain injury were included in the present study and took part in individual, weekly, 1-hour music therapy sessions over a period of 20 weeks. Each session was divided into two 30-minute periods - one devoted to listening to music (receptive music therapy) and the other to playing an instrument (active music therapy). The assessment criteria (measured at weeks 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20) were mood (on the face scale) and anxiety-depression (on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression [HAD] Scale). Mood was assessed immediately before and after the first music therapy session and every fifth session.
Results: Music therapy enabled a significant improvement in mood, from the first session onwards. This short-term effect was confirmed by the immediate changes in the scores after music therapy sessions (from 4.6+/-3.2 to 2.6+/-2; p<0.01). Music therapy also led to a significant reduction in anxiety-depression (p<0.05) from week 10 onwards and up until the end of the study (week 20).
Conclusion: These results confirm the usefulness of music therapy in the treatment of anxiety-depression and mood in patients with traumatic brain injury. Music therapy could usefully form an integral part of the management programme for these patients.