Date of Award

Spring 3-17-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Health Sciences


Health and Medical Sciences


Deborah A. DeLuca, JD

Committee Member

Terrence F. Cahill, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Lee Cabell, Ed.D.


Music Therapy, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), physicians, non-physician practitioners, healthcare, Affordable Care Act, recommending practices, wellness, stress, anxiety


Background and Purpose of the Study: With the rise in healthcare costs, partly due to an aging demographic (of whom these care-receivers and their informal family member/friend caregivers are experiencing high stress and anxiety levels resulting in an increase in nursing home placement), a need exists for a cost-effective alternative to the traditional medical approach. Specifically, Music Therapy, a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has been shown to decrease the severity of the problem by alleviating symptoms of an illness and improving overall well-being. The purpose of this study was to create a valid tool entitled “The Global Complementary/Alternative and Music Therapy Assessment (GCAMTA)” and then implement this tool in the population in order to help identify and understand the differences between physicians’ (MD, DO) and non-physician practitioners’ (NP, NA, NM, CNS, PA) recommending practices, perceptions of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and expectations regarding music as a cost-effective complementary and alternative medicine approach.

Methods: This study utilized a quantitative methodology with a descriptive, exploratory, cross-sectional and correlational research design to measure recommending practices, perceptions of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of physicians and non-physician practitioners. A sample of 544 healthcare practitioners across seven fields of medicine participated in this study.

Results: Reliability for the GCAMTA on the whole with all five dependent variable factors combined was excellent (Cronbach’s alpha α = .94). Individually, for each factor of the GCAMTA, the reliability ranged from good to excellent: Recommending Practices (α = .81), Perceptions of Knowledge (α =.92), Attitudes (α = .81), Beliefs (α = .88), Expectations (α = .87).

Physicians (MD, DO) were neutral in their recommending practices, perceptions of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and expectations towards music as a CAM therapy. Non-physician practitioners (NP, NA, NM, CNS, PA) were less conservative than the physicians and, thus, more favorable towards music as a CAM therapy for their patients. As perceptions of knowledge increased for both groups, favorability towards music as a CAM therapy increased as well. Results of the Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) across all five dependent variables were statistically significant (p = .0001) at an alpha level of 0.01.

Conclusion: Educational curricula may be the root of the discrepancy in the views between physicians and non-physician practitioners. Teachings in allopathic approaches may need to include teachings in holistic medicine in order for awareness of CAM such as Music Therapy to be obtained. In addition, further evidence-based research and longitudinal studies are needed for increased acceptance and eventual recommendation of these types of complementary approaches by healthcare practitioners in their practice.