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Effects of Music on Crying Behavior of Infants and Toddlers During Physical Therapy Intervention

Rahlin, Mary PT, MS, PCS; Stefani, Janette PT

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181bf00f7
Research Report

Purpose: This study was designed to investigate the effects of music on the amount of time that infants and toddlers cried during physical therapy sessions.

Methods: An A-B-A withdrawal multiple single-subject design was used with 9 infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental disabilities. Music was played during therapy in the intervention period but not in the baseline periods. The number of minutes that the participants cried was documented in a Crying Log. Results were analyzed using a celeration line approach and descriptive statistics.

Results: Responses to music varied among the participants, with 6 of 9 children crying less when music was used during therapy.

Conclusions: Infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental disabilities may benefit from the use of music during physical therapy to reduce crying. Effects of music on other aspects of infant and toddler behavior need to be studied.

The authors found that playing music during therapy reduced crying behavior in 6 of 9 children included in this multiple, single-subject design study. They recommend that therapists try using music during therapy for infants and toddlers as a calming influence.

Department of Physical Therapy (M.R.), Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, Illinois; and Pediatric Therapies Department, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (J.S.), Park Ridge, Illinois

Address Correspondence to: Mary Rahlin, PT, MS, PCS, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064. E-mail:

Grant Support: Supported in part by a Section on Pediatrics American Physical Therapy Association clinical research grant.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.