An investigation of patient preferences for music played before electroconvulsive therapy

Veena Graff, Peter Wingfield, David C. Adams, Terry Rabinowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Patients often feel anxious before electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which can lead to avoidance of treatments. Music is a noninvasive safe option to reduce anxiety in the preoperative setting. Therefore, we examined patients' preferences of listening to music while receiving ECT by providing music-by way of headphones or speakers- to participants before treatment. Methods: Patients receiving ECT were recruited for this study. Patients served as their own controls in 3 separate music intervention sessions: 1) randomization to music via headphones or speakers, 2) no music, 3) the remaining music intervention. Patients completed a questionnaire related to satisfaction and preferences of music being played before ECT. Patients received a final questionnaire at the end of the study asking which intervention they preferred. Results: Thirty patients completed the study. Ninety percent enjoyed listening to music through speakers. Eighty percent liked listening to music through headphones. Seventeen percent preferred not having any music. The difference in preference between speakers and headphones was not significant (P = 0.563; McNemar-Bowker test). There was no association between preference at the end of the study and the initial assignment of speakers or headphones (P = 0.542 and P = 0.752, respectively; Pearson χ2 tests). No adverse events were reported. Conclusions: Music is a low-cost intervention with virtually no side effects that could be offered as an adjunctive therapy for patients receiving ECT. A significant proportion of patients liked hearing music before treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-196
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 23 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Depressed patients
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Music
  • Perioperative period
  • Psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'An investigation of patient preferences for music played before electroconvulsive therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this