The effect of a music therapy intergenerational program on children and older adults' intergenerational interactions, cross-age Attitudes,and older adults' psychosocial well-being

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of participation in a music-based intergenerational music program on cross-age interactions and cross-age attitudes of elementary-age children and older adults, and older adults' psychosocial well-being. Twenty-one children in the 4th grade volunteered to participate in the experimental (n = 12) or control (n = 9) group. Twenty-six older adults from a retirement living facility also volunteered to participate in the experimental (n = 14) or control (n = 12) group. Ten 30-min music sessions occurred in which participants engaged in singing, structured conversation, moving to music, and instrument playing interventions. Data analysis of cross-age interactions revealed that the interventions "structured conversation" and "moving to music" were more effective in eliciting interaction behaviors than the interventions "singing" and "instrument playing. " Standardized measures revealed that children's attitudes towards older adults improved, though not significantly so, after participation in the intergenerational program. Results of biweekly post-session questionnaires revealed a decrease in negative descriptions of older adults and an increase in positive descriptions of older adults - suggesting a more positive view towards aging. Results revealed that older adults' attitudes towards children improved significantly after their participation in the intergenerational program. While standardized measures revealed that older adults did not perceive a significant improvement in their psychosocial well-being, their bi-weekly post-session questionnaires showed they perceived increased feelings of usefulness and other personal benefits from the intergenerational interactions. Suggestions for future research, the utility of varied measurement instruments, and implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-508
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Music Therapy
Volume48
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Music Therapy
Music
Singing
Retirement
Emotions
Interaction
Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Music

Cite this

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