Exploring Music Therapy as a Therapeutic Tool to Complement Conventional Breast Cancer Treatment: for Women Living in Atlanta, Georgia Open Access

Proby, Johnnie J. (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/p2676v556?locale=en



Abstract Cover Page


Background:  The process of recovery from breast cancer can be equally stressful as the diagnosis itself, which is exacerbated by physical and emotional symptoms, or side effects such as pain, discomfort, nausea, tiredness, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety as the disease progresses. Music Therapy (MT) and Music Medicine Intervention (MMI) strategies may be a safe and effective complementary therapeutic tool to use long with conventional treatment for women who are in recovery and survivorship to promote relaxation by reducing pain and suffering that they experience and to improve the quality of life.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the role of MT and MMI as a complementary tool for conventional breast cancer treatment for women living in Atlanta, GA., to evaluate the effects of MT as a safe and effective complimentary therapy to improve their overall physiological and psychological health and well-being, and to analyze the intermediate and long-term impact of MT over-time during survivorship and post-recovery.  


Methods: The grounded theory method was chosen for this research design. Data were collected through a series of semi-structured, open-ended questions in one-on-one in-person and/or telephone interviews.  Participants were comprised of 9 adult women from diverse backgrounds to include African American and Caucasian women living in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The sample population was recruited using the snowball method based on participant’s availability and willingness to take part in the study.


Results: Data from the study demonstrates that music therapy and music medicine intervention strategies that are used to cope with the side effects of conventional treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy for breast cancer survivors as a therapeutic tool may have a calming effect on the patient’s physical and emotional health and well-being. There is evidence to show that the role of music therapy and music medicine intervention strategies may alleviate stress and anxiety in patients before and after conventional treatment by redirecting their focus from pain and suffering to more positive thoughts and feelings that are uplifting and inspiring to the mind, body, and spirit. In-measured effects, evidence shows that patients may experience less sleep deprivation and perceived shorter waiting time spent in infusion center for treatment due to the calming effects of music therapy and music medicine intervention strategies, which improves the quality of life physically, mentally and emotionally.


Conclusion: Additional data collection and analysis is needed to determine the role and effects of music therapy and music medicine intervention strategies as well as how patients are informed and educated of complementary and alternative therapies in order to raise awareness of the potential positive impact of music therapy and music medicine intervention strategies on the overall physiological and psychological health well-being.



Table of Contents


Table of Contents


Chapter I: Introduction. 1


Introduction and Rationale. 1


Problem Statement 3


Theoretical Framework. 3


Purpose Statement 4


Research Questions. 5


Significance Statement 5


Definition of Terms. 6


Chapter II: Literature Review.. 8


Introduction. 8


Conventional Treatment for Breast Cancer 9


The History of Music Therapy. 11


The First Experimental Use of Music Therapy. 12


Music Therapy as a Healing Mechanism.. 13


Music as Vocal and Instrumental Sounds to Promote Health and Wellness. 14


The Human Voice as a Healing Instrument and Human Emotions. 15


Music Therapy in Oncology and Palliative Cancer Care. 15


Complementary and Alternative Medicines and Therapies in Cancer Care. 17


Various Approaches to Music Therapy for Women With Breast Cancer 18


The Physical and Psychological Effects of Music Therapy in Breast Cancer Care. 19


Summary. 20


Chapter III: Methodology. 21


Introduction. 21


Research Questions. Error! Bookmark not defined.


Population and Sample. 21


Research Design. 22


Procedures. 23


Instruments. 23


Data Analysis Methodology. 24


Chapter IV: Results. 26


Introduction. 26


Participant Demographic Information. 26


Qualitative Analysis of Findings. 27


Research Question 1. 29


Research Question 2. 30


Research Question 3. 31


Other Findings. 32


Summary. 33


Chapter V: Discussion. 34


Introduction. 34


Summary of Study. 34


Limitations. 35


Implications. 36


Recommendations. 36


Conclusion. 37


References. 38


Appendix A: In-depth Interview Guide. 49


Appendix B: Themes. 53





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