The research will evaluate the effectiveness of music listening in reducing symptoms of depression, which is estimated to affect one in five people at some stage of their lives.
Dr Mirella Di Benedetto, a Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Health Sciences, said some people with depression did not show significant improvement from traditional approaches such as pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy, demonstrating the need for alternative treatments.
“With the World Health Organisation predicting that depression will be the second leading cause of disability by 2020, finding different ways to help people recover or even prevent their depressive symptoms is essential,” Dr Di Benedetto said.
“Whether through playing an instrument or simply listening, music therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of mental illness even after just one session.
“While listening to music on its own cannot be deemed music therapy – as it doesn’t involve the intervention of a therapist – it could be considered therapeutic.
“There is already some evidence to suggest that music listening has a positive effect on depressive symptoms and can improve people’s quality of life.
“Our research aims to assess how effective listening to music can be in easing the symptoms of depression, expanding our understanding of music’s emotive impact.”
Volunteers for the study must be aged between 18 and 40 and must not have a current diagnosis of depression or be currently receiving treatment for depression.
People who have completed meditation practices are also not eligible to take part in the study.
Participants will attend a forum at RMIT’s City campus to complete a survey and a music listening task. Volunteers will then be given a take-home music listening task to complete daily in the week immediately after the forum.
For interviews: RMIT University, School of Health Sciences, Lecturer, Dr Mirella Di Benedetto, (03) 9925 3019 or 0417 506 963.
For media enquiries: RMIT University Communications, Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.