Effects of a Pilot Music Therapy Intervention on Motivation in Patients with Severe Hypercholesterolemia





Cardiovascular Disease, Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Music Therapy, Self-Determination Theory, Autonomous Motivation


Patients with an LDL-C ≥ 190mg/dL benefit from a healthy lifestyle and use of medications to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Change in autonomous motivation and perceived competence are viable targets for reducing CVD risk according to Self-Determination Theory. A pilot randomized controlled trial of music therapy for 31 very high LDL-C subjects found no between 1 or 2 session group different effects on motivation, LDL-C or non-HDL-C. Perceived competence for healthy lifestyle significantly increased (p<0.05), mean LDL-C decreased from 131 to 87 mg/dL (p<0.0005), and mean non-HDL-C decreased from 155 to 113 mg/dL (p=0.001) after music therapy in all participants. An increase in autonomous motivation for medication use predicted a  in the change in LDL-C (p<0.05).  Music therapy may enhance motivation for reducing CVD risk. Autonomous motivation for medication use and perceived competence for lifestyle change may be useful targets of future interventions for high cholesterol.

Author Biographies

Christopher Wojdak

Christopher Wojdak is a licensed professional counselor and board-certified music therapist in private practice.

Janaki Nathan

Janaki Nathan is a licensed physician who is board-certified in general preventive medicine.

Geoffrey Williams

Geoffrey C. Williams MD, PhD is a board certified lipidologist, health psychologist and Emeritus professor of medicine at University Of Rochester.

Cameron Coykendall

Cameron Coykendall has a bachelor of art’s in epidemiology and is a research coordinator for the Penn Program on Precision Medicine for the Brain (P3MB) lab.

Scott McIntosh

Scott McIntosh is a Professor of Public Health Sciences and Research Director in the Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Robert Block

Robert C. Block, MD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences and in the Cardiology Division of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester

Kelly Thevenet-Morrison

Kelly Thevenet-Morrison, M.S is a programmer/analyst in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center.





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