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Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 Mar-Apr;10(2):50-4.

Attitudes and expectations about music therapy for premature infants among staff in a neonatal intensive care unit.

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Wake Forest University School of Medicine Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Music appears to reduce stress in premature infants, but little is known about the attitudes and expectations about music among clinicians caring for these infants. The study questions were: a) would staff like to have music played in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), b) would they prefer live to recorded music, and c) how would their attitudes be affected by their profession and experience?


Cross sectional survey of NICU staff in the winter of 2003.


Eligible subjects were 37 physicians and 150 nurses and other clinical staff in the NICU. After pilot testing and revision, the self-administered questionnaires contained 57 Likert type or multiple choice items. They were distributed by e-mail and in staff mailboxes with two reminders. Data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and logistic regression.


The response rate was 75%. Most were nurses and 27 were MD's. Most (84%) were female and most (70%) reported some previous musical training. The majority (68%) agreed that they would like to have music played in the NICU. Most agreed that music could reduce stress (86%) and crying (79%) and improve sleep (79%) in premature infants. Recorded was preferred to live music by more than 2:1. Attitudes were significantly associated with prior musical training, experience, and profession.


NICU staff holds favorable attitudes toward music for premature infants. Music's effects on caregiver attitudes, mood and behavior may contribute to its impact on infants. Evaluation of the effects of music on infants needs to account for caregiver's expectations and behavior as well as direct effects on infants' physiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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