Mentor: Dr. Sharyn Zunz, UNH Department of Social Work
Effects of Music on the Stress and Mood of At-Risk Youth – A Qualitative and Quantitative Study
Research has shown that prolonged exposure to multiple risk factors can contribute to problem behaviors, failure in school, or poor mental health (Anderson Moore et al. 2000). Youth experiencing compound risk factors, are often not exposed to healthy coping strategies, which may lead them to resort to unhealthy methods of coping with stress. Social stigmas have been noted as one of the most significant factors deterring those in need from seeking therapy (Larson et. al 2007). Therefore, there is a need for individuals to develop an accessible, culturally-inclusive, self-administrative form of stress reduction. This study aims to investigate the therapeutic effects of music on youth (ages 14-19) deemed “at-risk” under the criteria set by the National Survey of America’s Families, and its efficacy in improving mood and decreasing stress. The study will also investigate music as a means of facilitating coping and the reinforcement of skills necessary for resilience. Experimental participants will complete a Profile of Mood States before and after free writing in a journal for fifteen minutes while listening to music. A Music Experience Questionnaire will also be completed to control for differential music responses among participants.