Investigating the efficacy of art and music therapy with vulnerable children and young people: a systematic review

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This systematic review evaluates the existing quantitative evidence base on the impact of art and music therapy with vulnerable children and young people. It discusses vulnerability in relation to five broad subject areas: adoption, attachment and parent-child bonding, mental health, behavioural and social interaction difficulties and special educational needs. These five categories cover a total of 10 specific conditions and diagnoses. The review carried out searches for evidence published since 2000. A total of 51 studies were identified in the review, of which 49 were unique studies. Of these 49 studies, 25 studies demonstrate that art and music therapy can be effective means of supporting vulnerable children and young people. A breakdown by discipline shows that 54% (7 of 13) of studies exploring art therapy were predominantly positive, slightly higher than the proportion of music therapy investigations 50% (18 of 36). However, the review concludes that more investigation is needed before meaningful conclusions can be drawn about the impact of art and music therapy with respect to specific contexts or diagnoses. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
systematic reviews, art therapy, music therapy, children, young people, adopted children, attachment, mental health problems, special educational needs, behaviour problems, conduct disorders;
Content type:
systematic review
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