The Effects of a Supportive Music and Imagery Experience on Coping with Stress in the Mother of a Child with Autism: A Pilot Study

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Lim, Kar Gee
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Parents of children with autism experience high stress levels. According to the literature, music, a widely used stress management tool, has not been used by researchers in an attempt to help parents with the stress that accompanies having a child with autism. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a supportive music and imagery experience on coping with stress among mothers of children with autism. One mother of a child with autism underwent one single supportive music and imagery session. She was also instructed to practice the technique daily for two weeks. After two weeks, she completed a post-test to reflect the effects of supportive music and imagery experience on coping with stress. The Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI-SF) (Abidin, 1995) was used for the pre- and posttests to measure the participant’s stress level. Results showed that the mother’s stress levels were not significantly changed after the practice of the supportive music and imagery experiences for two weeks. Recommendations for future research are discussed.