MAP: A Personalized Receptive Music Therapy Intervention to Improve the Affective Well-being of Youths Hospitalized in a Mental Health Unit

J Music Ther. 2019 Nov 19;56(4):381-402. doi: 10.1093/jmt/thz013.


The MAP is an innovative receptive music therapy intervention derived from psychomusical relaxation methods that aims to foster the well-being and recovery of youths with mental health problems by providing them with an adaptive and effective music-assisted means to regulate their mood states. In this quasi-experimental pilot study, we assessed the mood-enhancing potential of participation in MAP sessions delivered by a music therapist in an in-patient mental health facility for children and adolescents. Using short standardized self-reported questionnaires, 20 participants aged 9-17 years old (M = 14, SD = 2.4), mainly girls (13 = 65%), rated their affective state immediately before and after two to four MAP sessions and a similar number of regular unit activity sessions used as comparison. This created a 2 × 2 (Time × Condition) single-group within-individual design. We analyzed pre-post session changes in affect using multilevel mixed models and found participation in MAP sessions to be associated with systematic reductions in self-reported general negative affect and state anxiety. These variations were of modest-to-large magnitude and significantly greater than those associated to participation in regular unit activities. While only a first step towards the validation of the MAP as an effective intervention to foster more adaptive and effective day-to-day mood regulation in youths with mental health problems, this study supports its specific potential to alleviate negative affects and provides a rare demonstration of the putative benefits of music therapy in a pediatric mental health inpatient context.

Keywords: child and adolescent mental health; emotion regulation; negative affect reduction; pilot effectiveness evaluation; receptive music therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health
  • Music / psychology*
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Relaxation Therapy / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires