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Virtual study of stress in parents of children with developmental disabilities seeks participants

Jun. 23, 2021, 10:27 AM

Otolaryngology researchers from the Music Cognition Lab are seeking to recruit parents of children with developmental disabilities for a study about the connection between mindfulness, music and stress levels. The study will expand on the Music Cognition Lab’s goal to use music and mindfulness to effect positive change in individuals, families and communities.

The study, a virtual mindfulness-based music program, is an opportunity for parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities to participate in a seven-week online mindfulness program that includes music and songwriting activities. The program targets stress reduction and promotes well-being. Parents are supported by a music therapist and songwriter throughout the program. Since the study is fully virtual, parents from anywhere in the country are welcome to join.

Miriam Lense, PhD, principal investigator of the study, was inspired by past studies from the Music Cognition Lab that have shown music has the power to impact mood and social connection to others. Now, Lense and colleagues hope to bring those positive effects to parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“We’ve done a lot of work focused on the child and the family unit, and we noted that music programs were helpful for both parents and children,” Lense said. “Even though parents were typically signing up for their children, there were social and emotional benefits for them as well.”

“Parents of children with disabilities often experience high levels of stress, and studies show parents can benefit from mindfulness-based strategies for their own self-care,” Lense said. “Our program gives parents the tools to help reduce their stress and regulate their emotions.”

Participants will complete questionnaires and an interview about themselves and their children, as well as attend weekly one-hour remote mindfulness sessions for a total of up to seven sessions and/or receive materials for home practice. No prior music training is expected or needed, and participants will be compensated in up to $105 in gift cards, as well as audio recordings from their sessions.

If interested, please contact socialmusicresearch@vumc.org or call 615-576-0320 for more information. Click here to hear sample song excerpts from previous program participants.
This study is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab grant to VUMC.

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