Article, 2023

Guided Imagery and Music in the Treatment for Breast and Gynecologic Cancer: An RCT Pilot

In: Journal of Music Therapy, ISSN 0022-2917, 2053-7395, Volume 60, 4, Pages 410-434, 10.1093/jmt/thad011

Contributors (6)

Papanikolaou, Evangelia (0000-0002-4649-4531) (Corresponding author) [1] [2] Mckinney, Cathy H [2] [3] Hannibal, Niels Jørgensen (0000-0002-4865-4375) [2] Tsouvelas, George (0000-0001-8123-0091) [4] Panoskaltsis, Theodore [5] Karageorgopoulou, Sofia [6]


  1. [1] Sonora Organization for Music Therapy and Research, Athens, Greece
  2. [2] Aalborg University
  3. [NORA names: AAU Aalborg University; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]
  4. [3] Appalachian State University
  5. [NORA names: United States; America, North; OECD]
  6. [4] University of West Attica
  7. [NORA names: Greece; Europe, EU; OECD]
  8. [5] Aretaeio Hospital
  9. [NORA names: Greece; Europe, EU; OECD]


The primary aim of this randomized controlled trial pilot was to investigate the potential effectiveness of the music psychotherapy method, Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), to assist female patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast or gynecologic cancer. A secondary aim was to suggest performance improvements regarding the protocol and the resources required to undertake a future larger scale study. The researchers randomized participants (n = 20) into two groups: Intervention group (n = 10) and Control group (n = 10). The Intervention group received a series of six individual, short GIM sessions whereas the Control group received two verbal counseling sessions that took place at Week 1 and at Week 6 of treatment. All participants in the study completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS-Brief); Cancer Fatigue Scale (CFS); and Herth Hope Index (HHI) before the beginning of Week 1 and again after Week 6 or, in the case of the Intervention group, after the last GIM session. All participants also completed two Visual Analogue Scales (VAS-Hope; VAS-Fatigue) weekly or after each session throughout the duration of the trial. The results of the Intervention group receiving GIM showed medium pre-post effect sizes for the CFS, HHI, and POMS questionnaires, and significant positive changes for the VAS-H and VAS-F questionnaires. As seen from this initial data outcome, a brief series of GIM sessions shows promise to be beneficial for increasing hope, decreasing fatigue, and mitigating distressed mood for female patients undergoing treatment for breast or gynecologic cancer.


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