All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lynda Harrison

Advisory Committee Members

Kathleen Brown

Andrea Cevasco

Christopher Lorish

Janice Vincent

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


The study purpose was to examine the effects of a 15-min live-music therapy intervention on heart rate, oxygen saturation, level of motor activity, behavioral distress, and behavioral state levels in premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The convenience sample included 20 infants born at 26 to 29 weeks’ gestational age who were hospitalized in a large teaching hospital in the southern United States. In a 1-group repeated-measures crossover design, infants were randomly assigned order of music versus no-music conditions. Data were collected on 4 occasions over a 2- to 4-week period beginning when the infants were 1 to 2 weeks old. On 2 occasions, the infants received 15 min of live music provided by a music therapist; on the other 2 occasions, the infants did not receive the music intervention. Study variables were measured for 10 min (baseline), for 15 min during the music intervention or control period (during), and for 10 minutes after the during period (post). A 2-factor repeated-measures ANOVA was used to test differences among means for statistical significance for the 2 hypotheses. Results did not support the hypothesis that, during and for 10 min after exposure to a 15-min livemusic intervention, infants would exhibit a greater decrease from baseline in heart rate, level of motor activity, and signs of behavioral distress than they would exhibit after exposure to a no-music condition. Results did not support the hypothesis that infants would exhibit a greater increase from baseline in oxygen saturation during and for 10 min after exposure to a 15-min live-music intervention than they would exhibit after a noiv music condition. No deleterious effects of the music therapy were identified. Music is a noninvasive, nonpharmaceutical, and relatively low-cost intervention that can be implemented at the infant’s bedside. Further research is needed to determine whether effects noted in previous studies can be consistently replicated in diverse settings and with diverse groups of preterm infants. Additional testing of the conceptual framework is proposed for this study is needed to more specifically examine the mechanisms by which music may positively affect the physiologic and behavioral outcomes in infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Included in

Nursing Commons



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