Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil


Music therapy research with premature (or pre-term) infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) setting began over 25 years ago, and has expanded to include music therapy with premature infants, music therapy with parents of premature infants, and music therapy with both premature infants and parents combined. This literature review demonstrates the importance of continued research in this field to improve physiological, psychological, social, and behavioral health outcomes for premature infants and their parents. Current music therapy research has established the success of certain music therapy interventions, such as the Pacifier Activated Lullaby (PAL), Rhythm, Breath, Lullaby (RBL), Auditive Stimulation, and Multimodal Stimulation. These interventions, along with many others discussed in this literature review, indicate how music therapy can improve premature infant health concerns such as: decreased oxygen saturation, increased heart rate, challenges with oral feeding, hyperarousal, pain management, sleep difficulties, inconsolable crying, and difficulty establishing secure attachment with parents and/or caregivers. Music therapy in the NICU is underutilized within hospitals in the United States, and this literature review describes the many benefits to both premature infants and their parents, and why Neonatal Intensive Care Unit-Music Therapy (NICU-MT) should be a standard of hospital care across the United States.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




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