Term of Award

Fall 2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Ryan Couillou

Committee Member 2

Laura Stambaugh


Music not only entertains listeners, but it also evokes emotions and facilitates emotion regulation (Gabrielsson, 2001; Krahe & Bienick, 2012). Specifically, music helps listeners to express their emotions and alter their mood through cognitive reappraisal (Chin & Rickard, 2014; Witvliet & Vrana, 2007). Listening to music also enhances relaxation and reduces physiological arousal after experiencing a stressful event (Yehuda, 2011). Stress often involves an influx of negative emotions, which when left unmitigated, may result in fewer positive emotions, increased depression, and maladaptive coping (Flynn & Rudolph, 2010; Lazenby et al., 2019). While music appears to be an effective stress management tool, less is known about how music impacts positive and negative emotions in the context of stressors. Thus, the current study examined the ability of different kinds of music interventions to reduce negative emotions and increase positive emotions after a stressful event. The study was conducted in two phases using undergraduate samples. Seven hundred and ninety-five students completed a music preferences questionnaire during Phase 1. During Phase 2, 63 students who participated in Phase 1 were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (Empowering Music, Calming Music, Control Group) following a stress induction task. Measures of positive and negative emotions and stress levels were administered three times during the experiment. A series of 3 (Time [Time 1, Time 2, Time 3]) x 3 (Condition [Control Task, Calming Music, Empowering Music]) factorial ANOVAs were used to determine the impact of the music interventions on positive and negative emotion scores. Regarding positive emotions, results revealed a significant Time x Condition interaction effect, where individuals in the Empowering Music group reported greater positive emotions compared to those in the control group. Results revealed a significant Time x Condition interaction effect for negative emotions as well. However, there were some methodological concerns which prevented me from clearly interpreting these findings. Results also revealed a significant main effect for condition at Time 3 stress scores, where individuals in both music intervention conditions reported significantly lower stress scores compared to those in the control group. These findings highlight the benefits of using empowering music to build positive emotions, which may help individuals find well-being, even in the face of moderately distressing events.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material