Intervention Review

Music therapy for depression

  1. Anna Maratos1,*,
  2. Christian Gold2,
  3. Xu Wang3,
  4. Mike Crawford3

Editorial Group: Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Group

Published Online: 23 JAN 2008

Assessed as up-to-date: 6 NOV 2007

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004517.pub2

How to Cite

Maratos A, Gold C, Wang X, Crawford M. Music therapy for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004517. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004517.pub2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, Arts Therapies, London, UK

  2. 2

    University of Bergen, Grieg Academy, Bergen, Norway

  3. 3

    Imperial College London, Department of Psychological Medicine, London, UK

*Anna Maratos, Arts Therapies, Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London, NW1 7QY, UK.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: Edited (no change to conclusions)
  2. Published Online: 23 JAN 2008




  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要
  5. Резюме на простом языке


Depression is a highly prevalent disorder associated with reduced social functioning, impaired quality of life, and increased mortality. Music therapy has been used in the treatment of a variety of mental disorders, but its impact on those with depression is unclear.


To examine the efficacy of music therapy with standard care compared to standard care alone among people with depression and to compare the effects of music therapy for people with depression against other psychological or pharmacological therapies.

Search methods

CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References were searched on 7/11/2007, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycLit, PSYindex, and other relevant sites were searched in November 2006. Reference lists of retrieved articles were hand searched, as well as specialist music and arts therapies journals.

Selection criteria

All randomised controlled trials comparing music therapy with standard care or other interventions for depression.

Data collection and analysis

Data on participants, interventions and outcomes were extracted and entered onto a database independently by two review authors. The methodological quality of each study was also assessed independently by two review authors. The primary outcome was reduction in symptoms of depression, based on a continuous scale.

Main results

Five studies met the inclusion criteria of the review. Marked variations in the interventions offered and the populations studied meant that meta-analysis was not appropriate. Four of the five studies individually reported greater reduction in symptoms of depression among those randomised to music therapy than to those in standard care conditions. The fifth study, in which music therapy was used as an active control treatment, reported no significant change in mental state for music therapy compared with standard care. Dropout rates from music therapy conditions appeared to be low in all studies.

Authors' conclusions

Findings from individual randomised trials suggest that music therapy is accepted by people with depression and is associated with improvements in mood. However, the small number and low methodological quality of studies mean that it is not possible to be confident about its effectiveness. High quality trials evaluating the effects of music therapy on depression are required.


Plain language summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要
  5. Резюме на простом языке

Music therapy for depression

Music therapy has been used in a range of ways to treat depression. Approaches can be active or receptive: active techniques might be used when participants cannot articulate difficult feelings. Here the therapist uses clinical techniques to connect with the patient in an improvised dialogue, which can then act as a springboard to emotional awareness. Receptive techniques involve the use of pre-composed music for relaxation, reflection, guided reminiscence and change of mood state. We conducted a systematic review to find out whether music therapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression. Five studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. Marked variations in the interventions offered, the populations studied and the outcome measures used meant that quantitative data synthesis and meta-analysis were not appropriate. Four studies reported greater reductions in symptoms of depression among those randomised to music therapy. The fifth study reported no change in mental state among those receiving music therapy compared to those randomised to standard care alone. Findings from individual studies suggest that music therapy for people with depression is feasible and indicate a need for further research.



  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要
  5. Резюме на простом языке



憂鬱症是盛行率高的疾病,牽涉到社會功能下降,生活品質變差,以及增加死亡率. 音樂治療已經用在許多精神疾病的治療上,但對憂鬱症患者的治療效果如何並不清楚.




7/11/2007尋找CCDANCTRStudies and CCDANCTRReferences,在2006年11月尋找MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycLit, PSYindex 與 其他相關的資料庫。以手動搜尋擷取文章的參考文獻,以及專業者的音樂與藝術治療期刊。











此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。




Резюме на простом языке

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary
  4. 摘要
  5. Резюме на простом языке

Музыкальная терапия депрессии

Музыкальная терапия используется для лечения депрессии различными способами. Подходы могут быть активными или рецептивными: активные методы могут быть использованы, когда участники не могут ясно формулировать сложные чувства. В этом случае терапевт использует клинические методы для общения с пациентом в импровизированном диалоге, который может затем выступать в качестве трамплина для эмоционального осознания. Рецептивные методики включают использование предварительно написанной музыки для релаксации, размышления, управляемых воспоминаний и изменения настроения. Мы провели систематический обзор, чтобы выяснить, эффективна ли музыкальная терапия для уменьшения симптомов депрессии. Пять исследований соответствовали критериям включения в этот обзор. Существенные различия предлагаемых вмешательств, исследуемых популяций и исходов, используемые в исследованиях, не позволили провести соответствующий синтез количественных данных и мета-анализ. В четырех исследованиях сообщали о значительном снижении симптомов депрессии среди тех, кто был рандомизирован в группу музыкальной терапии. В пятом исследовании сообщили об отсутствии изменений в психическом состоянии среди тех, кто получал музыкальную терапию по сравнению с теми, кто был рандомизирован в группу стандартной терапии [без музыки]. Результаты отдельных исследований позволяют предполагать, что музыкальная терапия для людей с депрессией может быть использована, и указывают на необходимость дальнейших исследований.

Заметки по переводу

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