Music therapy has previously been found to be effective in the treatment
of depression but the studies have been methodologically insufficient and
lacking in clarity about the clinical model employed.
To determine the efficacy of music therapy added to standard care
compared with standard care only in the treatment of depression among
Participants (n = 79) with an ICD–10 diagnosis of
depression were randomised to receive individual music therapy plus
standard care (20 bi-weekly sessions) or standard care only, and followed
up at baseline, at 3 months (after intervention) and at 6 months.
Clinical measures included depression, anxiety, general functioning,
quality of life and alexithymia. Trial registration: ISRCTN84185937.
Participants receiving music therapy plus standard care showed greater
improvement than those receiving standard care only in depression
symptoms (mean difference 4.65, 95% CI 0.59 to 8.70), anxiety symptoms
(1.82, 95% CI 0.09 to 3.55) and general functioning (–4.58, 95% CI −8.93
to −0.24) at 3-month follow-up. The response rate was significantly
higher for the music therapy plus standard care group than for the
standard care only group (odds ratio 2.96, 95% CI 1.01 to 9.02).
Individual music therapy combined with standard care is effective for
depression among working-age people with depression. The results of this
study along with the previous research indicate that music therapy with
its specific qualities is a valuable enhancement to established treatment