Efficacy of emotion-regulating improvisational music therapy to reduce depressive symptoms in young adult students: A multiple-case study design

Sonja Aalbers, Marinus Spreen, Kim Pattiselanno, Peter Verboon, Annemieke Vink, Susan van Hooren

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Abstract

Depression is a serious mental health problem. Therefore, Emotion-regulating Improvisational Music Therapy (EIMT) to prevent depression was developed. The main purpose of this study was to assess effects of EIMT on reducing depressive symptoms in young adult students. A multiple-case study design was used with multiple methods. Eleven cases (female students) were completed and analysed. Nine out of 11 students reported reliable reductions in depressive symptoms at post-test and four-week follow-up. All students reported significant improvement in emotion regulation at post-test and nine out of 11 at four-week follow-up. The group showed significant reduction of depressive symptoms and significant improvement in emotion regulation at post-test. Results remained after four-week follow-up for both outcomes. Qualitative analysis supported these results. Using piecewise multilevel regression analyses, a small significant effect was found for negative, but not for positive affect. Main limitations are a one-site study, with female students and researcher in dual-role. Further research is needed to provide support for generality. Findings demonstrate that EIMT as a preventive intervention can be beneficial for young adult students within a university context to decrease depressive symptoms and negative affect and improve emotion regulation. Multisite studies are indicated to study effects and mechanisms of EIMT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101720
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Young adult students
  • Emotion-regulating Improvisational Music Therapy (EIMT)
  • Multiple case study design
  • Experience sampling method
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Emotion regulation

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