Michael Rosenheck, MD candidate May 2022, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

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Introduction: Patients with cancer often experience emotional, physical, and social suffering. Music is one of the most common strategies used by patients to cope with illness, and recent studies have suggested that music medicine decreases anxiety and depression in cancer inpatients. Methods: This study quantitatively measures the anxiety and depression of 24 cancer inpatients one hour before and immediately after a live fifteen-minute guitar/singing music intervention from the comfort of their hospital rooms using a modified seven-point Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and a written free response section. Results: Music medicine intervention significantly increased ability to laugh, cheerfulness, ease and relaxation, and decreased worrying thoughts. The data trended, albeit insignificantly, to decrease tension, restlessness, and increase excitement for the future. There were no significant effects of gender, age range, or relationship to music. A word map was created from words used more than once within the written free response section. Discussion: Music medicine proves effective at decreasing several elements of anxiety and depression in cancer inpatients in the time immediately after music intervention. Additionally, the word map provides a more qualitative view of the patients’ personal experience. This study warrants a larger study for more robust data.

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