Efficacy, Treatment Characteristics, and Biopsychological Mechanisms of Music-Listening Interventions in Reducing Pain (MINTREP): Study Protocol of a Three-Armed Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Anja Feneberg, Mattes B. Kappert, Rosa M. Maidhof, Bettina K. Doering, Dieter Olbrich, Urs Markus Nater

Background: Pain can severely compromise a person's overall health and well-being. Music-listening interventions have been shown to alleviate perceived pain and to modulate the body's stress-sensitive systems. Despite the growing evidence of pain- and stress-reducing effects of music-listening interventions from experimental and clinical research, current findings on music-induced analgesia are inconclusive regarding the role of specific treatment characteristics and the biopsychological mechanisms underlying these effects.

Objective: The overall aim of this pilot randomized controlled trial is to test and compare the differential effects of frequency-modulated and unmodulated music (both researcher-selected) on experimentally induced perception of acute pain and to test the efficacy of the interventions in reducing biological and subjective stress levels. Moreover, these two interventions will be compared to a third condition, in which participants listen to self-selected unmodulated music.

Methods and Analysis: A total of 90 healthy participants will be randomly allocated to one of the three music-listening intervention groups. Each intervention encompasses 10 sessions of music listening in our laboratory. Frequency-modulation will involve stepwise filtering of frequencies in the audible range of 50-4,000 Hz. Acute pain will be induced via the cold pressor test. Primary (i.e., pain tolerance, perceived pain intensity) and secondary (i.e., heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, hair cortisol, subjective stress) outcomes will be measured at baseline, post, and follow-up. In addition, intermittent measurements as well as a follow-up assessment and a range of tertiary measures (e.g., music-induced emotions) are included.

Discussion: This is the first study to systematically test and compare the effects of music frequencies along with the control over music selection, both of which qualify as central treatment characteristics of music-listening interventions. Results will be highly informative for the design of subsequent large-scale clinical trials and provide valuable conclusions for the implementation of music-listening interventions for the reduction of perceived pain.

Institut für Klinische und Gesundheitspsychologie, Forschungsplattform The Stress of Life - Processes and Mechanisms underlying Everyday Life Stress
Externe Organisation(en)
Philipps Universität Marburg, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (KU), Rehazentrum Bad Salzuflen
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
501010 Klinische Psychologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Psychiatry and Mental health
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