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Coping with Stress: The Effectiveness of Different Types of Music


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Elise Labbé.

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Labbé, E., Schmidt, N., Babin, J. et al. Coping with Stress: The Effectiveness of Different Types of Music. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 32, 163–168 (2007).

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  • Stress
  • Anger
  • SNS arousal
  • Music types