The Effect of Music Therapy on Executive Function Skills in Male, Incarcerated Adults in a Correctional Facility
University of Kansas
Music Education & Music Therapy
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of participation in a music therapy group on the executive function skills of male, incarcerated adults in a county correctional facility. Participants (N=16) were recruited from the medium-security pod in a local jail in a medium-sized Midwestern city. Eight participants (n=8) were randomly assigned to the treatment group, music therapy, and eight participants (n=8) were randomly assigned to the control group, talk-based therapy. Each group participated in four sessions over the course of two weeks. The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions for Adults (BRIEF-A) was administered once prior to the beginning of sessions and once following the conclusion of the two-week treatment period to determine if participation in music therapy significantly improved executive function skills. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was run to determine the effect of two different treatment interventions on post-intervention executive function scores after controlling for pre-intervention executive function scores. Results indicated no statistically significant improvement in executive function scores post-intervention in either group. However, post-intervention raw scores improved for 100% of music therapy participants and 40% for talk-based group participants. Music therapy yielded a higher retention rate over the treatment span than the talk-based group. This study supports the need for further investigation regarding the benefits of music therapy interventions to enhance various aspects of executive function in the inmate population. Keywords music therapy, corrections, mental health, executive function, inmates, BRIEF-A, ANCOVA
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