The Use of Music in Chronic Illness: Evidence and Arguments

Maria Pothoulaki, Raymond MacDonald, Paul Flowers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter presents a review of the current literature addressing the therapeutic use of music among those affected by: chronic illness, cancer, and cardiac disease. It includes a systematic analysis of each of these areas, highlighting music listening (both music therapy and other types of music listening) as the most prevalent type of music activity reported. Results suggest beneficial effects of music listening upon a range of physiological (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, enzyme production, respiration) and psychological variables (e.g., anxiety, mood, relaxation, pain). Theoretical integration and synthesis is then explored, with three mechanisms presented as possible explanations for the positive effects of music listening: musical communication as a form of social support; emotional engagement with music; and increased levels of perceived control.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic, Health, and Wellbeing
EditorsRaymond MacDonald, Gunter Kreutz, Laura Mitchell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199586974
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2012


  • cancer
  • emotional engagement
  • heart disease
  • music listening
  • music therapy
  • musical communication
  • perceived control


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