Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Gfeller, Kate

First Committee Member

Gfeller, Kate

Second Committee Member

Coffman, Don

Third Committee Member

Adamek, Mary

Fourth Committee Member

Cohen, Mary

Fifth Committee Member

Oleson, Jacob


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of participation in music therapy support groups (MTSG) on physical, psychological, and social functioning of cancer patients and caregivers. Participants were 24 cancer patients and 17 caregivers randomly assigned to experimental (n=21) or wait-list control (n=20) groups. The primary dependent variables were mood, coping, social support, and quality of life as measured by the Profile of Mood States (POMS), State Trait Anxiety Inventory-State (STAI-S) and Trait (STAI-T) scales, Personal Resource Questionnaire 85-Part 2 (PRQ85-Part 2), and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General Form (FACT-G). These measures, completed by all participants at baseline, midpoint, and end of three weeks, assessed the long-term effect (three weeks) of MTSG participation. The Music Therapy Support Group Numerical Rating Scales (MTSG-NRS) evaluated the short-term effect of each 60-minute music therapy session on mood, pain, stress, anxiety, and quality of life. All participants also completed the Music Therapy Support Group Assessment Form (MTSG-AF) beforehand to provide demographic information and music preferences, and the Music Therapy Support Group Evaluation Questionnaire (MTSG-EQ) after participation in music therapy sessions. Experimental participants completed six MTSG sessions over a three-week period; interventions included singing, songwriting, playing instruments, movement with music, creative arts with music, and music-assisted relaxation. The data from the POMS, STAI-S, STAI-T, PRQ85-Part 2, and FACT-G questionnaires were analyzed using five individual repeated measures ANOVA. The MTSG experimental group showed a significant improvement in mood and a significant decrease in anxiety as a result of participation in the music therapy support groups; the control group showed no significant change over time. The MTSG also showed improvement, though non-significant, on social support and quality of life; the control group remained stable on these measures over time. Data from the MTSG-NRS were analyzed using a Wilcoxon Rank Sum test. Analyses revealed that the MTSG achieved significant improvement in mood and significant decrease in stress and anxiety throughout each 60-minute MTSG session. Participation also significantly decreased the perception of pain and significantly improved quality of life in four of six sessions.


cancer, caregiver, coping, mood, music therapy, social support


xiii, 259 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 246-259).


Copyright 2011 Abbey Lynn Dvorak

Included in

Music Commons