Music Therapy with Military Populations: A Scoping Review

Music therapy treatment is increasingly being used to promote health, enhance quality of life, and improve functioning in military personnel, but evidence on the use of music interventions with military service members is still emerging. The purpose of this scoping review was to synthesize the available literature regarding music therapy treatment with military personnel by identifying the types of information available, key characteristics, and gaps in the knowledge base. The review was completed using the methodological framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley. A total of 27 publications met the criteria for review. The results included anecdotal reports, white papers/ briefs, case studies, historical reviews, clinical program descriptions, and research studies. Both active duty and veteran service members were represented in the literature, and post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury were the most commonly listed conditions among those served. Music therapy services were offered in both group and individual formats, and drumming was the most common music intervention cited. Most publications accurately represented music therapy, and the historical reviews highlighted the connection between the development of the field of music therapy and the use of music with military personnel. Several gaps were identified, including a lack of specificity in reporting, low levels of evidence, and limited inclusion of women service members.

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