Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective evidence based medicine (EBM) review is to determine whether or not listening to music while exercising is effective in reducing stress.

Study Design: Review of three English language randomized control trials published in 2011 and 2013

Data Sources: The double-blind placebo-controlled randomized control trials were obtained via PubMed.

Outcomes Measured: Pretest-posttest surveys included the SF-36 Health Survey to assess self-reported health-related quality of life, the Activation- Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD-ACL) to measure mood, and a 9-item measure to assess emotion.

Results: Listening to music while exercising increased pleasant emotions in all 3 studies. Significant findings of relaxation and being able to handle stress were seen in the 2013 study and a decrease in feeling anxious was found in the Lane et al 2011 study. However, reduction in perceived stress and increased calmness were significantly seen only when exercising alone indoors in comparison to listening to an Ipod while exercising in either setting in the Plante et al 2011 study.

Conclusions: Two out of three studies showed an association with listening to music while exercising and a reduction in stress. Although there is evidence showing that listening to music while exercising can reduce stress, the duration of this effect and to what degree in comparison to pharmacology therapy still needs to be explored.