Skip to main content

Group Music Therapy: A proactive mental health option

Group Music Therapy: A proactive mental health option

Name:Rachael, Finnerty

School/Affiliation:McMaster University. Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour

Co-Authors:Dr. Laurel Trainor. McMaster University. Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Advocating for proactive mental health interventions on university campus is not a new concept, yet services on campus remain predominantly reactive to mental health concerns. A randomized controlled trial is underway to analyze the effects of undergraduate university students’ proactive participation in in-person group music therapy for stress and anxiety management. In a previous published study, we reported on the effects of group music therapy to proactively manage stress and anxiety with undergraduate university students with online delivery of music therapy using zoom. We found significant reductions in stress and anxiety, but given the relatively small samples size, we suggested that further research should be conducted with a larger sample size. The present study follows a very similar protocol to the online music therapy study except that the music therapy groups are being delivered in-person on campus.
Students are being randomly assigned to six-weeks of group music therapy or a control group (student life as usual). All students complete the Perceived Stress Scale and provide a hair sample (for cortisol analysis) in week 1 and week 6 of the study. Additionally, students complete the (1) state anxiety questionnaire, (2) a stress scale (1-5) and (3) provide their heart rate variability before and after each music therapy group. Data collection began in February 2023, and will be complete by the end of November 2023 (n = 80). The overall aim of this research is to evaluate music therapy as a non-stigmatized proactive intervention for promoting wellness on university campuses.

Poster PDFPoster PDF