Music Therapy vs. Music Listening for Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia: Randomized, Controlled, Assessor- and Patient-Blinded Trial

Inge Nygaard Pedersen*, Lars Ole Bonde, Niels Hannibal, Jimmi Nielsen, Jørgen Aagaard, Christian Gold, Lars Rye Bertelsen, Silvia Beatriz Jensen, René Ernst Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: To investigate the efficacy of music therapy for negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.

Methods: Randomized, participant- and assessor-blinded, multicenter, controlled trial including patients diagnosed with schizophrenia according to ICD-10 with predominantly negative symptoms, between 18 and 65 years. Participants were randomized to 25 successive weekly individual sessions (excluding holidays, including cancellation by the participant) of either music therapy conducted by trained music therapists, or music listening together with a social care worker. The primary outcome was reduction in negative symptoms as measured by The Positive and negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative subscale total score, assessed by a blinded rater, utilizing mixed-effects model analysis.

Results: In total, 57 participants were randomized; 39 completed the study's initial 15 weeks, and 30 completed follow-up at 25 weeks. On the primary outcome of PANSS negative subscale, no significant difference was observed between groups with a coefficient of −0.24 (95% CI −1.76 to 1.27, P = 0.754) in the intention to treat analysis, and −0.98 (95% CI −5.06 to 3.09, P = 0.625) when only analyzing completers. Both interventions showed significant reduction from baseline to 25 weeks on PANSS negative subscale. On secondary outcomes, no between group differences were observed in The Brief Negative Symptom Scale, WHOQOL-Bref (Quality of Life), The Helping Alliance Questionnaire and The Global Assessment of Functioning in the intention to treat or completers populations utilizing Mixed Effects Models.

Conclusion: No difference between groups randomized to music therapy vs. musical listening was observed resulting in no clear recommendation for which intervention to use as the first choice for treatment of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and predominantly having negative symptoms.
Translated title of the contributionMusikterapi overfor musiklytning til reduktion af negative symptomer for mennesker med skizofreni: En randomiseret, kontrolleret, rater- og deltagerblindet effektundersøgelse.
Original languageEnglish
Article number738810
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Pedersen, Bonde, Hannibal, Nielsen, Aagaard, Gold, Rye Bertelsen, Jensen and Nielsen.


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