Music intervention for 5th and 6th graders-effects on development and cortisol secretion

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate effects of increased music education for 5-6th graders.

Design, subjects and interventions:

During the school year 1 hour music education was added each week for two classes. These were compared with classes receiving 1 hour extra data education and classes following ordinary curriculum.

Outcome measures:

Questionnaires: Students were given ‘I think I am’ (measuring self-esteem) and Social Anxiety Scale for Children-Revised (SASC-R) (measuring social anxiety). Parents were given Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory-Parental version (SPAI-P) (measuring social phobia) and Child Behaviour Check List (CBCL) (measuring psychopathology).

Biological measures:

Saliva samples for cortisol were collected on three occasions during the school year, each day four samples (at awakening, 30min later, 1h after lunch, before going to bed).

Results:

The music intervention group had significantly (F=4.98, p=0.01) lowered levels of cortisol during the afternoon at the end of the school year. Interaction (group and time) analyses concerning afternoon cortisol levels were not significant (F=1.97, p=0.11). There were no significant differences over time within or between the groups on the psychological instruments.

Conclusions:

Even if not conclusive, the findings suggest that the music intervention may have been of benefit. For a full-scale investigation larger study groups are recommended and special attention to the specificity of interventions and to motivating non-intervention classes for participating.

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