Music Therapy With Premature Infants and Their Caregivers in Colombia – A Mixed Methods Pilot Study Including a Randomized Trial


Music therapy
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
randomized trial
preterm infants
South America

How to Cite

Ettenberger, M., Odell-Miller, H., Cárdenas, C., Serrano, S., Parker, M., & Camargo Llanos, S. (2014). Music Therapy With Premature Infants and Their Caregivers in Colombia – A Mixed Methods Pilot Study Including a Randomized Trial. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 14(2).


This article reports the results of a three-arm mixed methods pilot study of music therapy with premature infants and their caregivers in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Bogotá, Colombia. The study included 19 medically stable babies born between the 30th and 37th week of gestation and their caregivers. Two intervention groups were compared with a control group.

The objectives were to find out whether music therapy could help the neonates to stabilize their physiological states and help mothers to reduce anxiety and strengthen the relationship with their baby.

The data collection included the babies´ weight gain, heart rate, oxygen saturation, size, cephalic perimeter and length of hospitalization. Mothers filled out the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-C) and the Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale (MIBS) before the first and after the last intervention. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data obtained through questionnaires.

A trend towards an increased weight gain for both intervention groups and a shorter length of hospitalization for one of the intervention groups was noticed. Anxiety and bonding in mothers appears not to follow linear trends, as new challenges arise for parents at different stages during hospitalization. Mothers stated that music therapy was helpful for them, their baby and their relationship with the baby. Mothers across the groups think that music therapy should be a regular offer in the NICU and that music therapy helps to humanize the NICU environment.

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