Bridging Music and Military Mental Health: A Pilot Study Examining Music Interventions in the Military Outpatient Mental Health Waiting Room Environment


  • Thomas Michael Christian Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) U.S. Navy, Medical Service Corps
  • Ayesha Edwards
  • Amanda Stickler
  • Eric Henderson
  • Rachel Markwald
  • Marlo Narro
  • Lisa Hess
  • Jeffrey Millegan






Music is shown to assist in reducing patient anxiety and distress in civilian medical environments. There is a dearth of research, however, examining how music therapeutics impacts patients in a military context. As such, researchers at Naval Medical Center San Diego performed a pilot study examining the effect of music on patients at a military out-patient mental health clinic. Using a quasi-experimental design, with quantitative and qualitative measures, the researchers assessed patient perceived “pleasantness” apropos of an alternating waiting room environment, with the control group being exposed to daytime television and the experimental group being exposed to relaxing music with nature scenes. In total, 149 participants completed the pilot study; 76 participants formed the control group, while 73 formed the experimental group. The results indicate that military out-patient mental health patients are positively impacted by music interventions in their waiting room experience, as revealed by an increase in reported “pleasantness” in the experimental group as compared to the control group. The researchers recommend that further work be performed in comprehending the salubrious effects of music interventions in the military clinical setting.


Keywords: military mental health, waiting room experience, music and

                    Outpatient mental health setting.


Author Biography

Thomas Michael Christian, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) U.S. Navy, Medical Service Corps

Thomas M. Christian, Ph.D., LCSW is a scholar of Humanities, and an Active Duty Naval Social Worker. Thomas has compelling interests in Psychoanalysis, its history, and its clinical applicability, and is currently an Academic/Psychoanalytic Scholar Candidate at the Dallas Psychoanalytic Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Thomas currently works as a United States Naval Officer performing Clinical Social Work duties at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.   



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