Music therapy for premature infants and their parents: an integrative review
Nordic Journal of Music Therapy
Music therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a young but globally expanding field of interdisciplinary interest. This integrative review provides a comprehensive as well as method-overriding, interdisciplinary critical overview of empirical results on music therapy with premature infants and their parents in neonatal care covering evidence from 43 articles between 1970 and 2010. The research outcomes illustrate that music therapy seems to be beneficial for premature infants,
... ature infants, especially in terms of pacification and stabilization. It also emphasizes that the premature infants' perceptive faculties and capabilities are actively engaged in music therapy to a greater extent than has been recognized in the literature thus far. However, some authors caution against the potential danger of over stimulating the premature infant and therefore recommend professional use of music therapy and general awareness in this sensible field. So far, research has predominantly focused on the short-term influence of recorded stimulations on the premature infant with quantitative designs. Future research should include active music therapy approaches, an in-depth analysis of the therapeutic process, the parents' perspective, as well as qualitative, mixed-methods, multi-center, and longitudinal designs to gain a deeper understanding of the advantages and limitations of music therapy in the NICU.