A new study has found that therapeutic music process that includes writing song lyrics and producing videos helps adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment gain coping skills.
Joan E. Haase, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Sheri L. Robb, PhD, MT-BC, led a team that tested a music therapy intervention designed to improve resilience in such patients undergoing stem cell transplant treatments for cancer.
Resilience is the process of positively adjusting to stressors, including those associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The researchers' Therapeutic Music Video intervention was designed to help adolescents and young adults explore and express thoughts and emotions about their disease and treatment that might otherwise go unspoken.
For the study, 113 patients aged 11 to 24 years who were undergoing stem cell transplant treatments for cancer were randomized to be part of a Therapeutic Music Video intervention group or to be part of a control group that received audiobooks. Participants completed six sessions over three weeks.
After the intervention, the Therapeutic Music Video group reported significantly better courageous coping. One hundred days after stem cell transplant treatments, the Therapeutic Music Video group reported significantly better social integration and family environment.
The investigators found that several protective factors helped adolescents and young adults to be resilient in the face of cancer treatments. These factors included spiritual beliefs and practices; having a strong family environment characterized by adaptability, cohesion, and positive communication; and feeling socially connected and supported by friends and healthcare providers.
The study was published in the journal Cancer.