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Effectiveness of Music Intervention in Ameliorating Cancer Patients Anxiety, Depression, Pain, and Fatigue: A Meta-analysis

Tsai, Hsiu F. MS, RN; Chen, Ying R. MS, RN; Chung, Min H. PhD, RN; Liao, Yuan M. PhD, RN; Chi, Mei J. PhD; Chang, Chia C. PhD, RN; Chou, Kuei R. PhD, RN

Cancer Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000116
Articles: Online Only

Background: This is the first study to use meta-analysis as a scientific technique to provide an integrated analysis of the effectiveness of music intervention in cancer patients.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was, using the meta-analysis method, to present a summary of existing research and explore the effectiveness of music intervention in ameliorating anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients.

Methods: The present study collected quantitative study designs sought of music intervention for cancer patients published from 2002 to 2012. These studies were then cross-referenced using Medical Subject Headings for topics on music intervention and cancer patients. Outcome indicators were anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue. The quality of the studies was evaluated using Cochrane Collaboration Guidelines. The effect size on outcome indicators used the formula devised by Hedges and Olkin (1985).

Results: Results showed that music interventions were significantly effective in ameliorating anxiety (g = −0.553), depression (g = −0.510), pain (g = −0.656), and fatigue (g = −0.422) in cancer patients. Subgroup analyses revealed that age and who selected the music were major factors influencing the effect size on anxiety reduction.

Conclusions: Music interventions significantly ameliorate anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue in cancer patients, especially adults. Music interventions were more effective in adults than in children or adolescents and more effective when patients, rather than researchers, chose the music.

Implications for Practice: Our findings provide important information for future music-intervention planners to improve the design and processes that will benefit patients in such programs.

Author Information

Author Affiliations: Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, (Mss Tsai and Chen, Drs Chung, Liao, and Chou); Department of Nursing, Taoyuan Armed Forces General Hospital, (Ms Chen); Department of Nursing, Hsin Sheng College of Medical Care and Management, Tauyuan (Ms Tsai); and School of Gerontology Health Management, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan (Drs Chi and Chang).

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Kuei R. Chou, PhD, RN, Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, No. 250, Wu-Hsing St, Taipei 110, Taiwan (

Accepted for publication October 15, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins