Influence of music therapy on coping skills and anger management in forensic psychiatric patients: An exploratory study

Laurien Hakvoort, S. Bogaerts, Michael H. Thaut, Marinus Spreen

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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The effect of music therapy on anger management and coping skills is an innovative subject in the field of forensic psychiatry. This study explores the following research question: Can music therapy treatment contribute to positive changes in coping skills, anger management, and dysfunctional behavior of forensic psychiatric patients? To investigate this question, first a literature review is offered on music therapy and anger management in forensic psychiatry. Then, an explorative study is presented. In the study, a pre- and post-test design was used with a random assignment of patients to either treatment or control condition. Fourteen participants’ complete datasets were collected. All participants received “treatment as usual.” Nine of the participants received a standardized, music therapy anger management program; the five controls received, unplanned, an aggression management program. Results suggested that anger management skills improved for all participants. The improvement of positive coping skills and diminishing of avoidance as a coping skill were measured to show greater changes in music therapy participants. When controlling for the exact number of treatment hours, the outcomes suggested that music therapy might accelerate the process of behavioral changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-836
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • music therapy
  • forensic psychiatry
  • coping
  • anger management

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