Music Therapy Assessment and Adolescents with Chronic Illness



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The purpose of this research study was to provide an overview of current music therapy assessment practice within the pediatric medical setting, specifically examining the psychosocial assessment of adolescents with chronic illness. A survey was conducted to ascertain the experiences of currently employed, board-certified music therapists working in this setting via questions regarding the psychosocial needs of adolescents, music therapy assessment tools, and the role of music therapy assessment during medical treatment. The exploratory, descriptive study consisted of a 32 question survey emailed to 8,988 board-certified music therapists as identified in an email list purchased from the Certification Board for Music Therapists. The questions were divided into four categories: an overview of the adolescent medical population, music therapy assessment within the pediatric medical setting, psychosocial assessment and adolescents, and participant demographics. These categories were comprised of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions for the purpose of attaining descriptive data; of the 8,988 potential participants, 157 board-certified music therapists completed the survey. Results of the study reveal that few music therapists utilize assessment tools specific to the adolescent population, despite an emphasis in assessing psychosocial needs that are prioritized when treating these patients. Music therapy interventions used in assessment include recreative and receptive interventions based on patient preferred music. Participants also indicated challenges in the assessment of adolescents with chronic illness, highlighting the difficulty in being familiar with patient preferred music, building rapport with adolescents, and possible caregiver interference during sessions. Implications from the findings and future research were discussed.



Music therapy, Assessment, Adolescents, Psychosocial, Chronic illness