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Effectiveness of music intervention on the quality of life of older people


Dr. M.F. Chan: e-mail:


lee y.y., chan m.f. & mok e. (2010) Effectiveness of music intervention on the quality of life of older people. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(12), 2677–2687.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the effect of music on the quality of life of community-dwelling older Chinese people in Hong Kong.

Background.  Older people’s quality of life can be improved by preparing for the transition into old age. Listening to music, as a vehicle for feeling, can facilitate the non-verbal expression of emotion, reaching people’s inner feelings without being threatening, and it can be a tool for emotional catharsis.

Method.  A randomized controlled trial design was conducted from in 2007 in a community centre in Hong Kong. A total of 66 older people (31 in music group and 35 in control group), aged from 65 to 90 years were randomly assigned to undergo either a 30-minute music intervention or a rest period for 4 weeks; quality of life outcomes were then measured.

Results.  Quality of life improved weekly in the music group, indicating a cumulative dose effect, and a statistically significantly better quality of life was found over time in each sub-score for those in the music group compared with the controls. However, in the music group, there were no statistically significant improvements of quality of life in each sub-score over the 4 weeks.

Conclusion.  Being engaged in music activities can help a person to connect with their life experiences and with other people, and to be more stimulated. Music is a non-invasive, simple and inexpensive therapeutic method of improving quality of life in community-dwelling elders.