The Use of Music Therapy to Influence the Self-Confidence and Hostility of Adolescents Who Are Sexually Abused

Joy Clendenon-Wallen, Western Michigan University


The purpose of this study was to determine whether music therapy would be an effective therapeutic medium for reducing hostility and increasing the self-confidence of sexually abused adolescents. The study utilized an experimental and control group which is unique in the sexual abuse literature. Most studies are descriptive or quasi-experimental in nature. Some of the subjects increased their self-confidence and decreased their hostility although no statistical significance was achieved for either group. This study describes the treatment problems of sexually abused adolescents and offers examples of non-confrontational and goal directed treatment strategies which can be achieved through music therapy. Music therapy appears to be an effective therapeutic medium for use with adolescents since it is an important part of the adolescent peer culture. Music evokes feelings and facilitates the expression of feelings and disclosure which is important in the treatment of sexual abuse.