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The Impact of Group Music Therapy on Negative Affect of People with Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illnesses
Music Therapy Perspectives
  • Susan Gardstrom, University of Dayton
  • Jacklyn Bartkowski, University of Dayton
  • Joy Willenbrink, University of Dayton
  • Wiebke S. Diestelkamp, University of Dayton
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The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of group music therapy on levels of self-reported negative affect (NA) among men and women on a residential unit of an integrated dual diagnosis treatment program.

More specifically, we sought to determine if and to what degree engagement in composition, receptive (listening), re-creation (performing), and improvisation experiences would result in a shift—namely, a decrease—in the intensity of self-reported NA.

Participants were adults in residential treatment who had been diagnosed with co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental illnesses (MIs), predominantly mood and anxiety disorders. Twenty group-music-therapy sessions were held on the unit. Three researcher-developed visual analogue scales were used to assess pre- and postsession levels of anxiety, anger, and sadness.

In total, 89 surveys were analyzed. Results indicate that nearly a third of the participants who were involved in the treatment groups reported a decrease in anxiety, sadness, and anger combined, with more than half of the responses in each of these three emotional states indicating a decrease.

While these are encouraging results, generalization of findings is limited primarily by the use of a nonstandardized measurement tool, the absence of a control group, the possibility of intentional deceit, and the potential for researcher bias in the collection and compilation of the data.

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The document available for download is the authors' accepted manuscript, posted here in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving.

Some differences may exist between this version and the publisher's version; as such, researchers wishing to quote directly from it are advised to consult the version of record, available at many libraries or from the publisher.

Permission documentation is on file.

American Music Therapy Association
Peer Reviewed
Citation Information
Susan Gardstrom, Jacklyn Bartkowski, Joy Willenbrink and Wiebke S. Diestelkamp. "The Impact of Group Music Therapy on Negative Affect of People with Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illnesses" Music Therapy Perspectives Vol. 31 Iss. 2 (2013)
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