The Effect of Music on the Spirituality of Patients: A Systematic Review

J Holist Nurs. 2018 Jun;36(2):192-204. doi: 10.1177/0898010117710855. Epub 2017 Jun 7.


Purpose: Although some studies have suggested that music can positively affect physical and psychological variables, few have evaluated its effects on spirituality. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of musical interventions on the spirituality of patients, regardless of diagnoses.

Method: This was a systematic literature review that followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) recommendations conducted through a relevant search of terms in six databases (PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ScienceDirect, and LILACS) without temporal delimitation. Experimental or quasi-experimental studies were included, involving participants regardless of diagnoses, to assess the effect of music on spirituality, either through musical intervention as music medicine or through music therapy. The methodological quality of included studies was evaluated using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.

Results: A total of 147 studies were identified; 7 met the inclusion criteria. Five studies were randomized controlled trials involving six music therapists leading the musical intervention with the active participation of patients. The interventions used were heterogeneous. Three studies were associated with improved spirituality after the intervention. Four studies used measurements to evaluate spiritual well-being.

Conclusion: This review did not allow ascertaining the positive impact of music intervention on spirituality in patients, which motivates further research.

Keywords: music; music therapy; spiritual well-being; spirituality; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Music / psychology
  • Music Therapy / methods
  • Music Therapy / standards*
  • Spirituality*