Effects of music therapy on anxiety in ventilator-dependent patients

H. L.C. Wong, Violeta Lopez-Nahas, Alexandros Molasiotis

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of music therapy in decreasing anxiety in ventilator-dependent patients. DESIGN: A crossover repeated measures design with random assignment was used. SETTING: The intensive care unit of a university hospital in Hong Kong was used as the setting for this study. PATIENTS: Twenty patients who were ventilator-dependent were recruited for the study. They were all Chinese with a mean age of 58.25 years (range, 19-84 y). Most (75%) were men. OUTCOME MEASURES: Physiologic measures of anxiety assessed in this study were mean blood pressure and respiratory rate. An additional measure was the Chinese version of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. INTERVENTION: Patients were randomized to receive either 30 minutes of uninterrupted rest and then 30 minutes of music therapy or the music therapy first and then the uninterrupted rest period. Patients listened to relaxing music by using audiocassette players and headphones. Subjects selected the music of their choice from a selection including both Chinese and Western music. Subjects had physiologic measures taken immediately before the intervention (or rest period) and at 5-minute intervals throughout the intervention. The Chinese version of Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was completed before the intervention and immediately after the intervention. RESULTS: Findings indicated that music therapy was more effective in decreasing state anxiety than was an uninterrupted rest period (P < .01). As measured by analysis of variance with repeated measures, blood pressure and respiratory rate showed no significant differences in the 2 conditions over time. However, significant differences were observed at the end of the intervention (after 30 minutes) between the 2 conditions, with music therapy being superior to the rest period. CONCLUSION: Music therapy is an effective nursing intervention in decreasing anxiety in ventilator-dependent patients and its use should be incorporated into the care of mechanically ventilated patients. For the Chinese patients, culture and language were the predominant factors in their choice of music.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-387
Number of pages12
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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