Date of Award

Spring 4-12-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Dr Sallie Coke

Second Advisor

Dr Shantee Henry

Third Advisor

Dr Corey Claxton



Chronic pain affects 20% of the U.S. and global population. With the worsening opioid crisis there is a growing need for alternative therapies. Individuals with chronic pain often experience depression, stress, and poor quality of life. The Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms guided this prospective cohort design project in a pilot study (N = 13) examining the effectiveness of songwriting to improve quality of life in this population. A master’s prepared nurse and experienced songwriter administered 6 weekly songwriting sessions in an online chronic pain support group. Chronic pain (Graded Chronic Pain Scale-Revised & Pain Enjoyment General Activities subscale), depression (Patient Health Questionaire-9), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), and quality of life (World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF) were measured before and after the intervention. The mean PEG score pre-intervention was 20.54 (SD 5.32) and post-intervention was 17.16 (SD 6.78), t (12) = 3.29 p < .01. There was a statistically significant reduction in chronic pain from pre-intervention to post-intervention in PEG scores. The mean depression scores (PHQ-9) were unchanged from pre-intervention to post-intervention (8.85). Participants’ mean stress scores (PSS) decreased slightly from pre-intervention, 20.15 (SD 7.47) to post-intervention, 19.46 (SD 7.9). There was a statistically significant increase in the participants’ social health scores (WHOQOL-BREF) from pre-intervention 4.62 (SD 2.06) to post-intervention 7.9 (SD 2.47), t (12) = 9.54, p < .001. As their social support increased, so did physical and psychological health in this pilot study. The 13 participants expressed positive feedback about being with others they could identify with and learning a new way to cope with chronic pain.

Keywords: chronic pain, music interventions, quality of life, songwriting

Included in

Music Therapy Commons