Music therapy may help to reduce depression in children and adolescents with behavioural and emotional problems, finds a study.
The researchers involved 251 children and young people for the study and found that children and young persons, aged 8-16 years, who received music therapy had significantly improved self-esteem and significantly reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy.
The study published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry also found that young people aged 13 and over who received music therapy had improved communicative and interactive skills, compared to those who received usual care options alone. Music therapy also improved social functioning over time in all age groups.
For the study, the children were divided into two groups — 128 underwent the usual care options, while 123 were assigned to music therapy in addition to usual care. All were being treated for emotional, developmental or behavioural problems.
“This study is hugely significant in terms of determining effective treatments for children and young people with behavioural problems and mental health needs,” said Sam Porter, Professor at the Bournemouth University, Britain.
“The findings contained in our report should be considered by healthcare providers and commissioners when making decisions about the sort of care for young people that they wish to support,” he said.
“Music therapy has often been used with children and young people with particular mental health needs, but this is the first time its effectiveness has been shown by a definitive randomised controlled trail in a clinical setting,” said Ciara Reilly, Chief Executive of Every Day Harmony.