Women With Addictions Report Reduced Anxiety After Group Music Therapy: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Supplementary Files

Brief script
Core experiences


music therapy

How to Cite

Gardstrom, S., & Diestelkamp, W. (2013). Women With Addictions Report Reduced Anxiety After Group Music Therapy: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v13i2.681


Roughly six million females in the USA abuse or are addicted to alcohol. Women are more likely than men to report depression and anxiety as triggers for substance use and relapse, which emphasizes the importance of therapies designed to help women mitigate anxiety.

Research supporting music therapy (MT) with women with addictions is scarce. In this quasi-experimental investigation, we hoped to learn: (1) What percentage of women with addictive disorders in a 45-minute group MT session will report pre-session anxiety?; and (2) of these, what percentage will report a palpable reduction in their post-session anxiety? We used a single group design: Participants self-reported anxiety before and after each session.

Study participants were 53 women in a gender-specific residential program. Voluntary group MT sessions were held twice weekly for 9 weeks. Four MT methods were used: Composition, Receptive (Listening), Improvisation, and Re-Creative (Performing). Of 53 first-session surveys, 39 (73.6%) indicated pre-session anxiety. Of these, 33 (84.6%) showed a reduction in post-session anxiety. A sign test confirmed an overall reduction in anxiety.

Outcomes may have been related to interventions, group cohesion, or other factors. The absence of a comparison group prevents suppositions of causality. Nonetheless, the results present a compelling case for the use of MT with women with anxiety. Because of the link between trauma and addictive disorders, we encourage exploration of the role and benefits of MT within trauma-informed models of addiction treatment.


Articles published prior to 2019 are subject to the following license, see: https://voices.no/index.php/voices/copyright

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the  Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0 that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.


Bergen Open Access Publishing