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J Music Ther. 2004 Fall;41(3):215-24.

Mozart versus new age music: relaxation states, stress, and ABC relaxation theory.

Author information

  • 1Roosevelt University Stress Institute, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL 60605, USA. jsmith@roosevelt.edu

Abstract

Smith's (2001) Attentional Behavioral Cognitive (ABC) relaxation theory proposes that all approaches to relaxation (including music) have the potential for evoking one or more of 15 factor-analytically derived relaxation states, or "R-States" (Sleepiness, Disengagement, Rested / Refreshed, Energized, Physical Relaxation, At Ease/Peace, Joy, Mental Quiet, Childlike Innocence, Thankfulness and Love, Mystery, Awe and Wonder, Prayerfulness, Timeless/Boundless/Infinite, and Aware). The present study investigated R-States and stress symptom-patterns associated with listening to Mozart versus New Age music. Students (N = 63) were divided into three relaxation groups based on previously determined preferences. Fourteen listened to a 28-minute tape recording of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and 14 listened to a 28-minute tape of Steven Halpern's New Age Serenity Suite. Others (n = 35) did not want music and instead chose a set of popular recreational magazines. Participants engaged in their relaxation activity at home for three consecutive days for 28 minutes a session. Before and after each session, each person completed the Smith Relaxation States Inventory (Smith, 2001), a comprehensive questionnaire tapping 15 R-States as well as the stress states of somatic stress, worry, and negative emotion. Results revealed no differences at Session 1. At Session 2, those who listened to Mozart reported higher levels of At Ease/Peace and lower levels of Negative Emotion. Pronounced differences emerged at Session 3. Mozart listeners uniquely reported substantially higher levels of Mental Quiet, Awe and Wonder, and Mystery. Mozart listeners reported higher levels, and New Age listeners slightly elevated levels, of At Ease/Peace and Rested/Refreshed. Both Mozart and New Age listeners reported higher levels of Thankfulness and Love. In summary, those who listened to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik reported more psychological relaxation and less stress than either those who listened to New Age music or read popular recreational magazines. Results suggest the usefulness of ABC relaxation theory in comparing the different effects of music and relaxation techniques.

PMID:
15327344
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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