Barry et al. (2010) Music Therapy CD Creation for Initial Pediatric Radiation Therapy: A Mixed Methods Analysis

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journal article


Philippa Barry, Claire O\'Callaghan, Greg Wheeler, and Denise Grocke. Journal of Music Therapy. 2010; Vol. 47, No. 3: pp 233-263.


A mixed methods research design was used to investigate the effects of a music therapy CD (MTCD) creation intervention on pediatric oncology patients' distress and coping during their first radiation therapy treatment. The music therapy method involved children creating a music CD using interactive computer-based music software, which was "remixed" by the music therapist-researcher to extend the musical material. Eleven pediatric radiation therapy outpatients aged 6 to 13 years were randomly assigned to either an experimental group, in which they could create a music CD prior to their initial treatment to listen to during radiation therapy, or to a standard care group. Quantitative and qualitative analyses generated multiple perceptions from the pediatric patients, parents, radiation therapy staff, and music therapist-researcher. Ratings of distress during initial radiation therapy treatment were low for all children. The comparison between the two groups found that 67% of the children in the standard care group used social withdrawal as a coping strategy, compared to 0% of the children in the music therapy group; this trend approached significance (p = 0.076). MTCD creation was a fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate intervention for pediatric patients, which offered a positive experience and aided their use of effective coping strategies to meet the demands of their initial radiation therapy treatment.


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