Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Music Education and Music Therapy (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Teresa L. Lesiuk

Second Committee Member

Edward P. Asmus

Third Committee Member

Shannon K. de l'Etoile

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen F. Zdzinski

Fifth Committee Member

Suzanne C. Lechner


Women at the completion of treatment for breast cancer experience relief along with continued physical and psychological distress. This study explored the effectiveness of two forms of a Relaxation Intervention in providing psychosocial support to women at the completion of treatment for breast cancer. The two conditions included (1) Music-Assisted Relaxation (MAR), in which contemporary, sedative music was paired with standard, spoken relaxation directives, and (2) Relaxation Alone (RA), in which only spoken relaxation directives were used. Individual sessions were held once each week for four weeks. This study included a mixed method design. Quantitative measures included The Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression Scale, The Profile of Mood States - Short Form, and The Benefit Finding Scale, a measure of psychological growth. Qualitative measures included Participant Diaries and a Semi-Structured Interview. A total of 20 women participated in this study, with 10 women in each of the two intervention conditions. Results revealed a statistically significant reduction in Depression for all participants over the course of the intervention. In addition, participants receiving MAR showed a statistically significantly greater improvement in Positive Affect during Week Three of the intervention when compared with participants receiving RA. Review of effect size calculations indicated that MAR had a stronger influence on Total Distress, Positive Affect, and Negative Affect than RA. Results from the qualitative analyses supported the quantitative findings, showing that the both forms of the Relaxation Intervention promoted reductions in Depression, seen in improved energy levels and better sleep. The Relaxation Intervention also led to improvements in Positive Affect, seen in greater focus of attention and elicitation of positive images and memories, especially for those participants in the MAR condition. In summary, the Relaxation Intervention used in this study was effective in reducing Depression among all participants. During specific weeks, all participants reported a decrease in Total Distress and Negative Affect and an increase in Positive Affect. MAR enhanced the effectiveness of the intervention, primarily through the promotion of positive mood states.


Relaxation; Music Therapy; Mood