Effect of music on depression levels and physiological responses in community-based older adults

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Aug;18(4):285-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2009.00614.x.


Many people over the age of 65 do not regard depression as a treatable mental disorder and find it difficult to express themselves verbally. Listening to music can facilitate the non-verbal expression of emotion and allow people's inner feelings to be expressed without being threatened. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of music on depression levels in elderly people. A randomized controlled study was conducted with 47 elderly people (23 using music and 24 controls) who completed the study after being recruited in Hong Kong. Blood pressure, heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), and depression level variables were collected. In the music group, there were statistically-significant decreases in depression scores (P < 0.001) and blood pressure (P = 0.001), HR (P < 0.001), and RR (P < 0.001) after 1 month. The implication is that nurses may utilize music as an effective nursing intervention for patients with depressive symptoms in the community setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Nurse's Role
  • Periodicity
  • Psychiatric Nursing / methods
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Respiration
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome