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Investigating the effects of music as a tic reducing therapy and how it impacts the self-esteem of individuals with Tourette Syndrome

Posted on 21 March 2019 by Helen Robbins

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A summary of the overall research project and findings

Existing research in to the effect of music on individuals with Tourette Syndrome suggests that music has a positive effect on health and self-esteem, but the research also implies that music does not affect tic frequency. This research - supported by Tourettes Action and led by Caitlin Payne, an undergraduate student studying Psychology and Special Educational Needs and Inclusion (BA hons) at Bishop Grosseteste University - aimed to investigate the effect of music on Tourette Syndrome and how individuals’ self-esteem could be affected. Furthermore, developing a greater understanding to what extent individuals with Tourette Syndrome felt accepted within society.

This research project was based around previous research by Sacks (2006), Sacks provides significant evidence regarding the positive effect of music on tic frequency and how music can reduce these tics. This research project discussed whether Sacks’ findings are reliable and a valid source.  Participants (N=17, Female=15, Male=2) were asked to complete an online questionnaire based on their interpretations of music on their tics. Questions used in this questionnaire were adapted from Bodeck et. al’s (2015) questionnaire. 

The findings of this research project conclude that music has a significant impact on tic frequency within individuals with Tourette’s, further finding that music significantly reduces tic frequency. It is not clear what it is specifically about music that reduces tics, however the data suggests that it is the type of music individuals listen to that has an impact.  Descriptive analysis found that participants reported a significant reduction in tics when listening to their ‘favourite’ music.

If you would like to know further information about this study, please contact Suzanne Dobson


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