Title

Learned Music Relaxation Technique on State and Trait Anxiety

Poster Number

4

Lead Author Affiliation

Music Therapy

Lead Author Status

Masters Student

Introduction

According to the 2012 Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey, there has been an increase in self-reported anxiety among college students and those seeking counseling and psychological services through their universities. As anxiety becomes a more prominent mental health concern among college students, there is an increased need to provide safe interventions that can be used effectively and independently.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to examine whether a learned music and relaxation intervention will reduce a person’s state and trait anxiety over the course of eight days. The researcher compared participants’ pre-test and post-test state and trait anxiety (STAI) scores and observed whether a change in scores occurred over the course of the week. Journal responses were included as a way to determine effectiveness of the intervention. The central research question was: “Does a self-administered music and relaxation intervention decrease self-reported state and trait anxiety?”

Method

The researcher recruited participants from three undergraduate classes, and described the research methods. The researcher’s email and phone number were provided to potential participants to allow them to reach out to the researcher independently. Three participants (2 male and 1 female) between the ages of 20 and 30 years took part in the study. Of the three participants who responded, all three remained in the study. Participants created a 3-digit number used to de-identify them. Individuals were excluded from the study if they had a mental disorder (e.g., anxiety or depressive disorder). Participants met with the investigator individually on the first day to select one of three prerecorded songs and complete the STAI short forms. After completing the pre-test, participants were guided in selecting one of three prerecorded songs. Each selection was five minutes in length. For the sake of time, one minute of the song was offered for listening to assist participants in selection. The researcher instructed the participants on a breathing exercise (“belly breathing”) along with their selected music. Following this, the researcher offered to answer questions or concerns the participants had about the technique. Participants were given their selected song and their self-report calendar with a short explanation by the researcher to write in the time of day the intervention was used and (optionally) the reason for using the intervention. On day eight, the participants met with the investigator who debriefed them and administered the STAI as a post-test. Additionally, the investigator provided a 5-question survey pertaining to self reported anxiety states and the participants’ opinion on the technique. Raw scores from the STAI pre/post-test were collected and graphed.

Results

Participant 1 demonstrated a SA (state anxiety) raw score of 22, and TA (trait anxiety) raw score of 25. It was observed that both SA and TA raw scores decreased to SA=16 and TA=21. Participant 1 states, “I found that I used this technique in times of particular stress... And after such stress.” Participant 2 demonstrated a SA raw score of 18, and TA raw score of 14. It was observed that both SA and TA raw scores decreased to SA=10 and TA=11. Participant 2 states, “[they used the technique to] take down mental barriers during the day and before bedtime.” Participant 3 demonstrated a SA raw score of 17, and TA raw score of 17. It was observed that SA raw scores increased to SA=22 and TA remained the same at TA=17. Participant 3 states, “[they used the technique when they were] vulnerable to rapid breathing,” and when they were feeling the most stressed. Though narrative data suggests that the music and relaxation technique assisted in decreasing feelings of anxiety, there was insufficient evidence to support this statistically. With only 3 participants, it is difficulty to generalize the effectiveness of the technique to the target population. Participant 3’s unfavorable outcome suggests the opposite of what past research has indicated which suggests that this particular technique is not beneficial to this individual.

Significance

Research suggests that practicing this form of mindfulness can support individuals before a coping strategy is needed which is the rationale behind measuring trait anxiety and participant journaling provides insight on the importance of the technique as well as implications for clinicians who seek to use music relaxation. The results of this study suggest that the use of music with relaxation can initiate change in both state and trait anxiety, though the use should be taught carefully and monitored by a trained clinician. With an increasing number of university students seeking mental health services and the limited number of available clinicians, a self-directed intervention may provide support when resources are limited. It is recommended that more research be conducted to investigate the use of music and relaxation, particularly when individuals are implementing the technique independently.

Location

DUC Ballroom A&B

Format

Poster Presentation

Poster Session

Morning

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Apr 29th, 10:00 AM Apr 29th, 12:00 PM

Learned Music Relaxation Technique on State and Trait Anxiety

DUC Ballroom A&B

According to the 2012 Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey, there has been an increase in self-reported anxiety among college students and those seeking counseling and psychological services through their universities. As anxiety becomes a more prominent mental health concern among college students, there is an increased need to provide safe interventions that can be used effectively and independently.