The Effects of Orff-Based Music Therapy and Social Work Groups on Childhood Grief Symptoms and Behaviors

By Hilliard, Russell E. | Journal of Music Therapy, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

The Effects of Orff-Based Music Therapy and Social Work Groups on Childhood Grief Symptoms and Behaviors


Hilliard, Russell E., Journal of Music Therapy


This study evaluated and compared the effects of Orff-based music therapy, social work, and wait-list control groups on behavioral problems and grief symptoms of bereaved school-aged children. Social work and music therapy sessions were provided weekly for one hour over an eight-week period. Participants (N = 26) attended three different public elementary schools, and each school was randomly assigned to one of the conditions. Pre and posttest measures consisted of the Behavior Rating Index for Children (BRIC) and the Bereavement Group Questionnaire for Parents and Guardians (BP). The BRIC measured behavioral distress and the BP measured grief symptoms prior to and following participation in the assigned conditions. Statistical analyses indicated that participants in the music therapy group significantly improved in the behaviors and grief symptoms, and those in the social work group experienced a significant reduction in their behavioral problems but not their grief symptoms. Participants in the wait-list control group made no significant improvements in either their grief symptoms or behavioral problems. A reduction in behavioral distress as measured by the BRIC and a reduction in grief symptoms as measured by the BP is the most desired outcome. This study supports the use of Orff-based music therapy interventions for bereaved children in a school-based grief program. Recommendations for future research are included.

Introduction and Literature Review

It is well documented in the literature that common problems for grieving children include: emotional distress, somatic concerns, disruptive behaviors, and withdrawn behaviors. Additional problems may include sleeping or eating disturbances, poor school performance and attendance, and drastic mood or behavioral changes (Lehna, 1995; Rubel, 2005; Smith & Pennells, 1995; Webb, 2004; Wolfelt, 1991). Although assumptions have been made that untreated bereavement needs lead to serious psychiatric or behavioral diagnoses, this assumption has not been proven in the research literature (Harrington, 1999). Nonetheless, more than 2 million youngsters in the United States have experienced the death of a parent, and support and guidance through the grief process may be needed for them (Christ, Seigel, & Christ, 2002). In one study, children who experienced the death of a parent reported significantly more posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than children who had experienced other types of trauma (natural disaster, social/academic stressor) (Stoppelbein & Greening, 2000).

Without bereavement support, grieving children are more likely to consult their primary physician for somatic concerns. In one study, over one-third of the consultations were for symptoms unrelated to an organic cause, indicating a likely psychosomatic issue (Lloyd-Williams, Wilkinson, & Lloyd-Williams, 1998). Untreated bereavement needs may lead to more serious psychological problems (Dowdney et al., 1999) and social distress (Kirwin & Hamrin, 2005). Early grief intervention support programs help to minimize the psychological, social, and somatic distress often experienced by bereaved children (Kirwin & Hamrin, 2005).

A variety of treatment approaches for childhood bereavement have been presented in the literature. Time-limited, school-based groups have been described as a way to help children express their grief, learn basic death education concepts, and engage in peer supports (Aspinall, 1995; Cassini & Rogers, 1994; Cook, White, & Ross-Russell, 2002; Goldman, 1994; Kimble, 2001). Groups that foster peer support may be especially helpful to adolescents, who rated that peer support was one of the most useful aspects in helping them with their bereavement needs (Ringler & Hayden, 2000). Different therapeutic theories have also been presented. The use of children's stories and bibliotherapy has been encouraged (Corr, 2003-2004; Kimble, 2001). In addition, the use of psychotherapy (Tonkins & Lambert, 1996), cognitive-behavioral therapy (Brown, Pearlman, &: Goodman, 2004), creative arts therapy (Carroll Sc Griffin, 1997; Zambelli, Clark, Barile, & Dejong, 1988), and music therapy (Bergmann, 2002; Milliard, 2001; Loewy, 2004; McDonnell, 1984) have been explored. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Effects of Orff-Based Music Therapy and Social Work Groups on Childhood Grief Symptoms and Behaviors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.