Effect of music therapy on state anxiety in patients undergoing flexible sigmoidoscopy

Kerry C. Palakanis, John W. DeNobile*, W. Brian Sweeney, Charles L. Blankenship

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Patient anxiety related to flexible sigmoidoscopy can negatively affect acceptability and compliance with screening protocol, complicate and prolong procedure time, and potentially result in prematurely aborted procedures. Music has been recognized through research as a safe, inexpensive, and effective nonpharmaceutical anxiolitic agent. METHODS: An experimental study was performed on 50 adults scheduled for outpatient sigmoidoscopy. The control group received standard sigmoidoscopy protocol. Subjects in the experimental group received the standard protocol with the addition of listening to music throughout the procedure. State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) measurements were performed on all subjects before and postsigmoidoscopy. Physiologic recordings of heart rate and mean arterial pressure were recorded before and during the procedure. RESULTS: Patients who listened to self-selected music tapes during the procedure had significantly decreased STAI scores (P<0.002), heart rates (P<0.03), and mean arterial pressures (P<0.001) in comparison to the control subjects. CONCLUSION: The results of the study indicate that music is an effective anxiolitic adjunct to flexible sigmoidoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-481
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Music therapy


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