The Effects of environmental music therapy on anxiety and waiting in radiation oncology
Keywords:environmental music therapy, soundscape, patient anxiety, waiting time, radiation therapy
A randomized control trial investigated perceived waiting time in patient and caregivers, and live music’s effects on anxiety levels prior to daily radiation therapy (RT). Environmental Music Therapy (EMT) is a live music intervention by music therapists meant to modify perception of potentially stressful environments through constructing dynamic soundscapes to provide enhanced comfort and safety. This study (a) rated participants’ state anxiety and distress experienced in the waiting area pre-RT, (b) determined if the EMT protocol moderated baseline treatment experience-related anxiety and (c) evaluated EMT’s affects on perceived waiting time pre-treatment, versus actual waiting time. We hypothesized EMT would reduce state anxiety, distress, and regulate distortion of waiting time, ultimately changing overall RT perception. 160 randomized patients and caregivers were accrued- 82 receiving EMT, 78 randomized to control. Assessment pre/post intervention measured anxiety and distress with the STAI 6 and Visual Analogue Distress Scale. A time survey assessed waiting perception. Data collected and recorded by research assistants naïve to treatment conditions found EMT interventions showed significantly reduced perceived incidences of anxiety and distress, significantly shortening perceived waiting times in the EMT arm compared to controls. Reduced anxiety, distress, and temporal distortion can enhance patients’ and caregivers’ perception of hospital environments.