Art, Music, DanceCancerChildren

Active music engagement in kids with cancer

 Music therapy can be active or passive. In the active form, the therapist and patient are actively involved in playing music using instruments and voice. Passive music therapy is conducted with the patient at rest.

In this study, active music engagement was designed to counter the stress that confronts children with cancer while in the hospital.

First, the details.

  • 83 participants, ages 4-7, were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 activities.
    • Active music intervention
    • Music listening
    • Audio storybooks
  • The researchers videotaped and studied changes in 3 coping behaviors.
    • Positive facial affect
    • Active engagement
    • Initiation (the time before the child initiates an action to stop what’s causing the stress)

And, the results.

  • The active music intervention group had more frequent coping-related behaviors compared to the other groups — a significant difference.
  • Positive facial affect and active engagement were significantly higher during active music engagement vs the other groups.
  • Initiation was significantly higher during active music engagement vs audio storybooks.

The bottom line?
Active music engagement had a positive effect in hospitalized children receiving cancer treatment.

More positive results with active and passive music therapy are summarized here.

10/19/08 17:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.