Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this evidence based medicine review is to determine whether music therapy is effective in improving emotional health in pediatric cancer patients

STUDY DESIGN: Two randomized controlled trials and a prospective cohort study were reviewed and selected based on their relevance to the clinical question and their inclusion of patient oriented outcomes (POEMS).

DATA SOURCES: Each study was obtained by searching PubMed database.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes measured included pain scores measured using a NRS pain scoring scale, anxiety scores were measured using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)and visual analog score (VAS). Objective measurement of coping behaviors that included facial affect was measured using a behavior coding form from Skinner and Wellborn’s Motivation Theory of Coping.

RESULTS: The results of the Nguyen et al. study showed that there was a change in the mean anxiety scores before the lumbar puncture and after the procedure in the music group of 8.1, which is significantly lower than the control group (no music) of 13.02. The Robb et al. study demonstrated there was a significant difference between ML and ASB group with a p-value of p=.04131. The cohort study results reported a change in mean anxiety scores for the music group was -0.3 and the control was -0.2 with a p-value of p=.54 which is not statistically significant4.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the three studies demonstrated that it is inconclusive whether or not music therapy is effective in improving emotional health in pediatric cancer patients.