The impact of music therapy in late-moderate premature infants, on their parents and their environment, in a Spanish neonatal intermediate care unit.


  • María Jáñez Autónoma University of Madrid
  • María Jesús Del Olmo Ph.D. Reasercher at Department of Music, Faculty of Education, Autónoma University, Madrid.
  • Cintia Rodríguez Ph.D. Researcher at Department of Development and Education, Faculty of Psychology, Autónoma University, Madrid.



music therapy, premature infants, neonatal care unit, neonatal care, integrative music medicine


The aim of this study is to determine whether a live music therapy session during parent holding had an effect on physiological and comfort outcomes of late-moderate preterm infants, on their parents, and on the ward environment. This is a quasi-experimental study of a cohort of 44 preterm / adult pairs exposed to a music therapy session in the first two weeks after birth. There were 3 moments of observation (before, during, and after the intervention), at which heart rate (HR), oxygen saturation (O2-sat), the infant’s behavioral-emotional activation level, and the environmental response were measured. A statistically significant increase was observed in O2-sat (p<.001) after the intervention, as well as a decrease in HR (p<.001). Personal and environmental stress was observed to decrease (p<.001). A music therapy session in the Neonatal Unit at the time of interaction between parents and premature infants was found to be useful in reducing stress and promoted a positive interaction between parents and infants.

Author Biographies

María Jáñez, Autónoma University of Madrid

Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and researcher at Madrid National Health System. External colaborator at Department of Development and Education, Faculty of Psychology, Autónoma University, Madrid, Spain.

María Jesús Del Olmo, Ph.D. Reasercher at Department of Music, Faculty of Education, Autónoma University, Madrid.

Ph.D. Music-therapist. Deputy director and teacher of the Music Therapy masters at the UAM. Professor at the Music Department, Faculty of Education and Teacher Training, UAM. Music therapy teacher at Language, Audition, and Special Education at the Cardenal Cisneros College.

Cintia Rodríguez, Ph.D. Researcher at Department of Development and Education, Faculty of Psychology, Autónoma University, Madrid.

Ph.D. Developmental psychology professor at the Faculty of Psychology and at the Faculty of Medicine at the UAM. Leads the research group Early Development and Education (DETEDUCA).


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