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The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy on Attention and Mood in Women Receiving Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer: A Pilot Study

Teresa Lesiuk
ONF 2015, 42(3), 276-282 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.276-282

Purpose/Objectives: To explore the efficacy of mindfulness-based music therapy (MBMT) to improve attention and decrease mood distress experienced by women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. 

Design: Quantitative, descriptive, longitudinal approach. 

Setting: A comprehensive cancer hospital and a university in southern Florida.

Sample: 15 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, stages I–III, receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. 

Methods: Participants individually received MBMT for one hour per week for four weeks. The sessions consisted of varied music activities accompanied by mindfulness attitudes, or mental strategies that enhance moment-to-moment awareness, and weekly homework. Demographic information was collected at baseline. 

Main Research Variables: Attention was measured using Conners’ Continuous Performance Test II. Mood was measured using the Profile of Mood States–Brief Form. Narrative comments collected from the homework assignments served to reinforce quantitative data. 

Findings: Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that attention improved significantly over time. Although all mood states significantly improved from the beginning to the end of each MBMT session, the mood state of fatigue decreased significantly more than the other mood states. 

Conclusions: MBMT enhances attention and mood, particularly the mood state of fatigue, in women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.

Implications for Nursing: A preferred music listening and mindfulness exercise may be offered to women with breast cancer who experience attention problems and mood distress. 

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