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Researchers say music therapy could relieve depression in young people

A new study shows that in addition to traditional treatment, music therapy could alleviate depression in children and teenagers with behavioural and emotional issues.

According to a recent study published in Science Daily, music therapy can help children and teenagers with behavioural and emotional problems by increasing their self-esteem and helping reduce depression.

Carried out from 2011 to 2014 on a 251 children and teenagers, this study was conducted by researchers at the University of Bournemouth and Queen's University in Belfast. It is the largest study conducted on this category of very fragile patients, according to Valerie Holmes from the Queen's University School of Medicine in Belfast. As Sam Porter, professor at the University of Bournemouth and supervisor of the researcher’s team, points out, its impact could be decisive in the choice of therapies offered by different institutions.

He explains: “The results reported in our study should have a key role in identifying the best method to apply for children and teenagers with behavioural and mental health problems”.

Of the 251 children and teenagers aged 8 to 16 who were treated for emotional, developmental or behavioural disorders, 123 received music therapy in addition to their traditional treatment. At the end of the observation period, the researchers reported that they subjects had better self-esteem and were less likely to suffer from depression. In people aged 13 and over, they also noted an improvement in communication and cooperation skills, as well as considerable social skill development in all age groups. These results were drawn in comparison to the control group of 128 children and teenagers who received traditional treatment without music therapy.

‘’For a long time, we relied on studies which were based on a sample size that were too small to prove the beneficial effects of music therapy. The results of this study are compelling and underscore the need to integrate music therapy into the treatment protocol, “concluded Ciara Reilly of Every Day Harmony, the association of music therapists who also participated in the study.  

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