Does listening to music regulate negative affect in a stressful situation? Examining the effects of self-selected and researcher-selected music using both silent and active controls

Jenny M. Groarke, AnnMarie Groarke, Michael J. Hogan, Laura Costello, Danielle Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background

Stress and anxiety is increasingly common among young people. The current research describes two studies comparing the effects of self-selected and researcher-selected music on induced negative affect (state anxiety and physiological arousal), and state mindfulness.

Method

In Study 1, 70 undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: researcher-selected music, self-selected music, or a silent control condition. In Study 2, with 75 undergraduates, effects of music were compared to an active control (listening to a radio show). Negative affect was induced using a speech preparation and arithmetic task, followed by music listening or control. Self-reported anxiety and blood pressure were measured at baseline, post-induction, and post-intervention. Study 2 included state mindfulness as a dependent measure.

Results

Study 1 indicated that participants who listened to music (self-selected and researcher-selected) reported significantly greater anxiety reduction than participants in the silent control condition. Music did not reduce anxiety compared to an active control in Study 2. However, music listening significantly increased levels of state mindfulness, which predicted lower anxiety after self-selected music listening.

Conclusions

Music may provide regulation in preparation for stressful events. Yet, the results of Study 2 indicate other activities have similar benefits, and shows, for the first time, that music listening increases mindfulness following a stressor.

Keywords: Anxiety, Stress, Coping, Regulation, Music listening, Mindfulness
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Early online date02 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 02 Oct 2019

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