Music Therapy In Multiple Sclerosis: Results of a Systematic Qualitative Analysis

W.L. Magee, Jane Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acquired and chronic neurological illness causes fundamental changes to all aspects of an individual's identity, starting with the physical self and extending through one's psychosocial existence. The descriptive literature on music therapy with acquired neuro-disabling conditions often describes the holistic effect of intervention on all areas such as communication, emotions, social and physical responses. However, the empirical research to date has isolated single variables which demonstrate functional improvement, even though functional goal-oriented techniques may not optimize the psychotherapeutic potential which music therapy possesses. This has created a gap between that which clinicians observe and report in the clinical literature, and the published outcomes in research studies.This paper presents the results of an open coding analysis which is one stage of the grounded theory research paradigm. The findings provide evidence of the effects of music therapy in adults with chronic, progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Emergent from data grounded in participants' experiences, central phenomena are revealed of how music therapy affects the emotional, physical, interpersonal and expressive self, and in particular, how music therapy can assist with the emotional consequences of acquired disability. The study offers novel information relevant to both researchers in this field and to clinicians working with adults with acquired neuro-disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-51
JournalMusic Therapy Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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