This is a survey study examining the ways in which people use personal music listening as a tool for regulating emotions. It included responses from 109 participants, who answered 16 line items regarding the ways in which they use music to affect their emotions, as well as 7 questions regarding demographic information. Analysis was conducted on line items, and also after grouping into separate functions of music. Results indicated that the most common way people use music is soothing/coping with emotions. The second most commonly used was changing emotions/alternate engagement, followed by mindfulness/matching emotions, and expressing emotion/problem solving. Line items that stood out were the use of music to self-soothe, which 80% of participants reported they do, as well as listening to music that reflects the way they already feel, which 73.45% of participants reported they do. This is of particular importance due to neural correlates between music listening and emotion regulation, and because listening to music with negative associations can increase rumination. This has been noted especially among adolescents or adults with mood disorders. Results indicate that psychoeducation is crucial in assisting persons with mood disorders in using music to reinforce positive states rather than increasing negative rumination.



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