Effectiveness of Music Therapy Based Relaxation Techniques for Reducing Frequency and Intensity of Daily Parenting Hassles for Parents with Young Children

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Gregory, Susan
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
The everyday demands of parenting can cause a significant amount of stress on both parents and children. This stress can result in negative effects on the physiological health as well as the psychological health of parents. Parental stress can also affect the entire family system. A search for studies revealed no research relating to the use of music therapy to treat parental stress. This experimental study tested the effectiveness of music therapy based relaxation (MTBR) techniques as a method of reducing the frequency and intensity of daily parenting hassles experienced by parents with small children. Sixteen volunteers with at least one child age 10 and under were assigned to one of two matched groups (experimental or control) based on data gathered from a Demographic Questionnaire. Experimental participants participated in 4 weekly group MTBR sessions and then practiced self-administrated MTBR for a 2-week period. Prior to treatment, participants in the experimental group completed the Musical Preferences Questionnaire and Parenting Daily Hassles Scale (PDH). The PDH was re-administered to participants in both groups at week 4 (posttest 1) and week 6 (posttest 2). An independent samples t-test revealed no significant differences on the PDH frequency and intensity scales between the groups at pretest (Pre), posttest 1 (P1) and posttest 2 (P2). Related sample t-tests were performed separately on the data for the control group and for the experimental group. No significant differences were found from Pre to P1 , Pre to P2 and P1 to P2 for the control group. The experimental group showed a significant decrease on the intensity scale from Pre to P2 and P1 to P2. Results indicate that participation in a MTBR program is an effective treatment method for reducing the intensity of parenting hassles.