February 21, 2022
2 min read
Women who participated in music therapy had lower levels of depression and reduced menopausal symptoms compared with those who did not, according to findings in Menopause.
“Evidence suggests that the prevalence of depression increases during the menopausal transition and postmenopausal period, including middle age,” Derya Yüksel Koçak, PhD, assistant professor in the department of nursing at Hitit University Faculty of Health Sciences in Çorum, Turkey, and colleagues wrote.
They noted that studies have shown music’s effect on depression and menopausal symptoms separately, though “it is noteworthy that there is no study investigating the effects of … music therapy on [both] menopausal symptoms and the risk of depression in menopausal women.”
Koçak and colleagues enrolled 48 postmenopausal women with no history of depression in a randomized controlled study from July 2019 to December 2020. At the beginning of the study, participants completed a form detailing sociodemographic information, as well as the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire — which assessed somatic, psychological and urogenital symptoms of menopause — and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). They completed the MRS and BDI again at the end of 6 weeks.
The researchers played three pieces of Turkish classical music — a genre that had “comforted and calmed” participants in a pilot study — for 21 participants (mean age, 59.1 years; mean age of menopause, 44.2 years). Participants assigned to the music therapy intervention chose their favorite song and were instructed to use headphones to listen to their chosen song for at least 15 minutes every day when they were alone in a quiet environment for 6 weeks. The 27 control participants (mean age, 56.5 years; mean age of menopause, 46.8 years) did not have any intervention.
There were no statistically significant differences in menopausal symptoms between the control and intervention groups at baseline.
MRS posttest scores of the women in the control group were higher than those in the music group, but the difference was not significant, the researchers said.
In the intervention group, MRS posttest scores overall and for three components — somatic, psychological and urogenital subscales — were 99% lower than pretest scores (P < .01), which constituted a significant decrease in menopausal symptoms. There were no significant differences between pretest and posttest median scores in the control group, however.
BDI scores showed depression was significantly decreased in the intervention group (pretest mean value, 15.38; posttest mean value, 11.81; P = .003). In the control group, there was no significant change in BDI scores.
“Although menopause is a natural process, the management of symptoms that occur during this period bears significant importance for women,” Koçak and colleagues wrote.
“The present study on music therapy and depression suggests a significant and permanent reduction in patients’ symptoms and improvement in their quality of life,” they added.
Study limitations included women’s refusal to participate, non-generalizability of findings and self-reported data.
Koçak and colleagues suggested more research on music’s effect on menopausal symptoms to validate their findings for future clinical application.