The effects of music therapy on children and adolescents with mental or medical illness: A meta-analysis
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This study examined the effectiveness of music therapy on children and adolescents with medical or mental illness. Two separate meta-analyses were conducted. A total of 9 medical-symptoms studies and 12 mental-symptoms studies met the inclusion criteria. The mean effect size for both populations was medium ( d = 0.54; d = 0.52 respectively). The confidence intervals indicated significant effect sizes. The tests of heterogeneity were not significant, suggesting that the dispersion between the individual effect sizes was due to the sampling error and not to an extraneous variable. Moderator variables were examined for clinical and exploratory purposes. Moderate to large effect sizes for music therapy were found with participants in the inpatient setting, youngest group of children (under 11 years old) with medical illness, and mixed-age group with mental illness. Studies that used random assignment of participants and independent-groups design yielded the largest effects. Additionally, objective measures yielded larger effect sizes than self-reports.