Background: Music therapy has been shown to be effective for children with psychopathology, providing an alternative nonverbal approach to the treatment of children with anxiety disorders.
Objective: This pilot study investigates the efficacy of Multimodal Music Therapy (MMT), a combination of music therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, compared to treatment as usual (TAU).
Methods: Thirty-six children aged 8-12 years with a primary diagnosis of an anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to 15 sessions of MMT or to TAU. Diagnostic status and dimensional outcome variables were assessed at the end of treatment and 4 months later.
Results: MMT was superior compared to TAU according to the remission rates after treatment (MMT 67%; TAU 33%; chi2 = 4.0; p = 0.046) and remissions persisted until four months post-treatment. Dimensional measures showed equivalent improvement after either MMT or TAU.
Conclusions: The results regarding the efficacy of MMT are promising for children with anxiety disorders. Further evaluation with larger samples and comparisons to pure CBT are recommended.