Campus Access Only

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of University of the Pacific. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

David E. Wolfe

First Committee Member

Ruth V. Brittin

Second Committee Member

Roger C. Katz


Receiving vaccinations is a part of growing up in the United States; however, as necessary as vaccinations are, many children find the process to be frightening and painful. A review of literature indicates that non-pharmacological interventions, such as distraction, are generally effective in reducing pain and anxiety in children receiving injections. Music has been examined as a potential distraction during pediatric medical procedures, but research findings have been mixed, due, in part, to the way in which music was used: the children were primarily instructed to merely "listen to the music." It has been noted that individuals tend to maintain their attention on music more successfully when they are asked to listen for specific elements. The present study sought to determine if a focus of attention activity (pointing at pictures) involving music would affect levels of distress and perceptions of pain in pediatric injection patients. Sixty-four 4- to 6 1/2-year old children receiving routine immunizations were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: musical story, spoken story, or standard care control. Children in the two treatment conditions listened to a recorded story on headphones and pointed at corresponding pictures before, during, and after their injections. Observational data on distress and pain were collected, in addition to the child's self-rating of pain. Participants in the musical story condition tended to be less distressed and report less pain than participants in the spoken story and control conditions, although these differences were not statistically significant. Subsequent analysis indicated that children who received more injections tended to benefit more from the music intervention, in terms of their perceived pain. Implications of the findings are discussed, along with recommendations for future research in the area.



To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid email address and log-in to Scholarly Commons.

Find in PacificSearch



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).