Therapeutic Singing as an Adjunct for Pulmonary Rehabilitation Participants With COPD: Outcomes of a Feasibility Study


  • Donna Goodridge RN, PhD
  • Jennifer J. Nicol PhD, MTA, RDPsych
  • Karla J. Horvey BSc(PT), BA, CRE
  • Scotty Butcher PhD, BScPT, CSCS, ACSM-RCEP



In spite of optimized medical management, many individuals living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experi- ence distressing and disabling symptoms such as breathlessness and poor quality of life. Novel interventions, such as therapeutic singing, hold promise of ameliorating these inhibiting symptoms. This feasibility study compared the outcomes of an 8-week therapeutic singing program conducted by an accredited music therapist for 14 individuals with advanced COPD who attended a pulmonary rehabilitation program targeted to address symptoms with 5 individuals receiving usual care. While the program was enthusiastically and positively endorsed by participants, we did not find improvements in health-related quality of life, exercise capacity, or perceptions of illness for participants in the singing program compared to those receiving usual care. Further studies on optimal duration and intensity of therapeutic singing programs, as well as evaluation of psychological and quality of life specif- ically related to social interaction, are needed to build the evidence-based practices related to such programs.


Author Biographies

Donna Goodridge, RN, PhD

Donna Goodridge, RN, PhD, is a professor in the College of Nur- sing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Donna’s research interests include health systems improvements that will enhance outcomes for individuals living with chronic illness.

Jennifer J. Nicol, PhD, MTA, RDPsych

Jennifer J. Nicol, PhD, MTA, RDPsych, is an associate professor, an accredited music therapist, and a registered doctoral psychologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, where she maintains an active research program in music therapy, health, and gender.

Karla J. Horvey, BSc(PT), BA, CRE

Karla J. Horvey, BSc(PT), BA, CRE, is a physical therapist and a PhD student in the Health Sciences Program at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Karla’s research interest is focused on both psychological and physical activity measures in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Scotty Butcher, PhD, BScPT, CSCS, ACSM-RCEP

Scotty Butcher, PhD, BScPT, CSCS, ACSM-RCEP, holds a PhD in exercise physiology, is a licensed physical therapist, and an assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.




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