Music's relevance for people affected by cancer: a meta-ethnography and implications for music therapists

O'Callaghan, Clare C., McDermott, Fiona, Reid, Philippa, Michael, Natasha, Hudson, Peter, Zalcberg, John R. and Edwards, Jane 2016, Music's relevance for people affected by cancer: a meta-ethnography and implications for music therapists, Journal of music therapy, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 398-429, doi: 10.1093/jmt/thw013.

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Title Music's relevance for people affected by cancer: a meta-ethnography and implications for music therapists
Author(s) O'Callaghan, Clare C.
McDermott, Fiona
Reid, Philippa
Michael, Natasha
Hudson, Peter
Zalcberg, John R.
Edwards, JaneORCID iD for Edwards, Jane
Journal name Journal of music therapy
Volume number 53
Issue number 4
Start page 398
End page 429
Total pages 32
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0022-2917
Keyword(s) music
music therapy
Anthropology, Cultural
Medical Oncology
Qualitative Research
Self Care
Stress, Psychological
Young Adult
Arts & Humanities
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Summary BACKGROUND: Evidence supports music-based oncologic support interventions including music therapy. By comparison, little is understood about music-based self-care. This meta-ethnography examined five published qualitative studies to extend understanding of music's relevance, including helpfulness, for people affected by cancer; including children, adolescents, and adults with cancer, carers, and the bereaved.

OBJECTIVE: To improve understanding of music's broad relevance for those affected by cancer.

METHODS: Meta-ethnography strategies informed the analysis. Five studies were synthesized that included 138 participants: 26 children and 28 parents of children with cancer; 12 adolescents and young adults with cancer; 52 adults with cancer; 12 carers; and 8 bereaved. Studies' category and thematic findings were compared and integrated into third-order interpretations, and a line of argument. Perspectives from the five studies that illuminated the line of argument were developed.

RESULTS: Music usage can remain incidental, continue normally, and/or change because of cancer's harsh effects. Music can be a lifeline, support biopsychosocial and spiritual well-being, or become elusive, that is, difficult to experience. Music helps or intrudes because it extends self-awareness and social connections, and prompts play, memories, imageries, and legacies. Music therapists may help patients and carers to recover or extend music's helpful effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Cancer care can be improved through offering music-based resources/services, which give cancer patients and carers opportunities to extend music usage for personal support and, for carers, to support patients. Music therapists can advocate for such resources and educate health professionals about assessing/recognizing when patients' and carers' changed music behaviors signify additional support needs.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/jmt/thw013
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
1904 Performing Arts And Creative Writing
Socio Economic Objective 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, American Music Therapy Association
Persistent URL

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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