Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

, Volume 32, Issue 3–4, pp 163–168 | Cite as

Coping with Stress: The Effectiveness of Different Types of Music

  • Elise LabbéEmail author
  • Nicholas Schmidt
  • Jonathan Babin
  • Martha Pharr


Listening to classical and self-selected relaxing music after exposure to a stressor should result in significant reductions in anxiety, anger, and sympathetic nervous system arousal, and increased relaxation compared to those who sit in silence or listen to heavy metal music. Fifty-six college students, 15 males and 41 females, were exposed to different types of music genres after experiencing a stressful test. Several 4 × 2 mixed design analyses of variance were conducted to determine the effects of music and silence conditions (heavy metal, classical, or self-selected music and silence) and time (pre–post music) on emotional state and physiological arousal. Results indicate listening to self-select or classical music, after exposure to a stressor, significantly reduces negative emotional states and physiological arousal compared to listening to heavy metal music or sitting in silence.


Stress Anger SNS arousal Music types 



This project was supported by Grant # 2001-SI-FX-0006 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.


  1. Anderson, C. A., Carnagey, N. L., & Eubanks, J. (2003). Exposure to violent media: the effects of songs with violent lyrics on aggressive thoughts and feelings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 4, 960–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brannon, L., & Fiest, J. (2007). Health psychology: An introduction to behavior and health, 6th edn. Belmont: Thomson-Worth.Google Scholar
  3. Burns, J. L., Labbé, E., Arke, B., Capeless, K., Cooksey, B., Steadman, A., & Gonzales, C. (2002). The effects of different types of music on perceived and physiological measures of stress. Journal of Music Therapy, 28, 104–116.Google Scholar
  4. Burns, J. L., Labbé, E., Williams, K., & McCall, J. (1999). Perceived and physiological indicators of relaxation: As different as Mozart and Alice in Chains. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 24, 197–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corr, P. J., & Gray, J. A. (1996) Structure and validity of the attributional style questionnaire: A cross-sample comparison. The Journal of Psychology, 130, 645–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Knobloch, S., & Zillman, D. (2002) Mood management via the digital jukebox. Journal of Communication, June, 351–366.Google Scholar
  7. Labbé, E., Booth, K., Jimerson, M., & Kawamura, N. (2004). The sound of music: Evaluating responses to different music genres, to be presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Atlanta, GA, March.Google Scholar
  8. Osman, A., Kopper, B. A., Barrios, F. X., Osman, J. R., & Wade, T. (1997). The Beck anxiety inventory: Reexamination of factor structure and psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53, 7–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Sapp, M., Farrell, W. C., Johnson, J. H., & Ioannidis, G. (1997). Utilizing the PK scale of the MMPI-2 to detect ÿosttraumatic stress disorder in college students. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 53, 841–846.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Spielberger, C. D. (1999). STAXI-2 state-trait anger expression inventory-2 professional manual. Lutz: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.Google Scholar
  11. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., Lushene, R., Vagg, P. R., & Jacobs, G. A. (1983). Manual for the state-trait anxiety inventory: Form Y. Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Trzcinski, J. (1994) Today’s music: Poetry or pornography? Corrections Today, 56(7), 148.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elise Labbé
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicholas Schmidt
    • 1
  • Jonathan Babin
    • 1
  • Martha Pharr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

Personalised recommendations