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The Arts and Quality of Life Research Center seeks to expand the current research base concerning the use of the arts to enhance the quality of life within a multicultural society through stimulating, supporting and facilitating interdisciplinary studies that employ various research paradigms and methods. 
Current Research


$20,000 grant received for meta-analysis on music and quality of life in Americans

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center a $20,000 Research Grant to conduct a meta-analysis on the effects of music on Americans' quality of life across the lifespan. The analysis will exclude music therapy literature and research on acquisition of music skills, instead focusing on research of music on quality of life in physiological, psychological, social, behavioral, and cognitive domains.

$16,000 grant received for Hear Our Voices: Songwriting with At-Risk Youth

“Hear Our Voices” is an innovative music therapy project aimed at promoting healthy attitudes and behaviors in at-risk youth through a 14-week structured songwriting program. The program currently runs at the H&S Learning Center and the Drueding Center, both located in Kensington in Philadelphia, and at Belmont Charter School in West Philadelphia. The songwriting program aims to provide children with a creative outlet to explore issues relevant to their lives (violence, difficult family situations, anger management, school, and peer pressure) as well as an opportunity to collaboratively create strategies for personal safety and success. Each 14-week cycle culminates with the production of a CD and a CD release party.

Cochrane Systematic Reviews

The Arts and Quality of Life Research Center has completed several meta-analyses to synthesize research concerning the effect of music and dance on quality of life. Several of these systematic reviews include collaborations with international research teams and have been submitted to the Cochrane Collaboration. The Cochrane Collaboration is the best single source for reliable evidence about the effects of health care and their systematic reviews are recognized as the gold standard in evidence-based health care. Click here to see all the reviews.


Completed Research Studies


$50,000 grant received for music entrainment study with cancer patients with chronic pain

The Arts and Quality of Life Research Center received a $50,000 Provost Seed Grant to conduct a study that examines the effects of music therapy entrainment on pain levels, vital signs, medication usage, quality of life and medication side effects in cancer patients with chronic pain. The proposed research represents a collaborative effort between The Arts and Quality of Life Research Center, pharmacy faculty, and the Temple University Cancer Center.

A patient-centered music therapy approach to pain management, music therapy entrainment, has been developed by Dr. Dileo. This treatment, based on principles of physics, involves an individual, interpersonal process between patient and music therapist wherein music that matches the client’s experience of pain as well as what would heal the pain is created via musical improvisation. Within this treatment process, the patient has an opportunity to receive the following: a personal assessment of the pain and his or her experience of it, empathy with the pain, control over the musical representation of the pain, objective experience of the pain as external or him or herself, and the presence of a caring person who is willing to “resonate” with the pain. The current research has documented the effectiveness of this approach with children who have acute, post-surgical pain, with those who have chronic pain, and with those experiencing laboratory-induced pain.

This multidisciplinary research project investigated the following research questions: 1) does music therapy entrainment significantly influence perceived pain, vital signs, breakthrough pain medication use and bowel functioning in persons with chronic and/or cancer pain when compared to another music condition? 2) Which areas of the brain are activated by individualized entrainment music versus preferred recorded music? 3) What is the participant’s experience of music therapy entrainment vs. preferred recorded music? The results will be published soon in peer-reviewed journals.

$24,900 Grant received for Singing for Tomorrow: The Use of Songwriting as an Expressive Medium for Hospitalized Children with Spinal Cord Injury

A grant by the Christopher Reeve Foundation ($24,900) supported an innovative songwriting program for inpatients with spinal cord injury at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children (Philadelphia). Individual songwriting sessions helped these children express their feelings and facilitate their coping with spinal cord injury. With the help of a music therapist, each child created and recorded original songs about their experience of spinal cord injury and their hopes for the future. Songwriting software was used to enable the child to select and input the music and the lyrics, allowing the child to be fully involved in every aspect of the songwriting process. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the children to evaluate the impact of this program on their coping with spinal cord injury.

This program was offered through Arts at Your Side, the community service initiative of the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center. The purpose of Arts at Your Side is to provide specially designed arts experiences and arts engagement directly to residents of the Philadelphia region so that their lives may be positively influenced and their well-being improved. By utilizing the power of the arts to give voice to their human conditions, to accompany them through their struggles, to provide a creative outlet for their feelings, to provide stability in times of turmoil, to help them maintain their identities through crisis, and to soothe, heal, comfort and instill hope, Arts at Your Side provides an innovative service to those most greatly in need.


HIV/AIDS Research Study

In 2006, the Arts and Quality of Life Research Center in conjunction with the Comprehensive HIV Program at Temple Hospital received a grant by Johnson & Johnson and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. Drs. Cheryl Dileo (Professor of Music Therapy) and Dr. Ellen Tedaldi (Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the HIV Program) served as Principle Investigators.

The grant, in the amount of $20,000 funded a research project involving the implementation and evaluation of physiological, psychological, social and quality of life effects of a unique choral arts/music therapy program for underserved minority HIV/AIDS patients and their caregivers. Patients and their caregivers participated in a specially designed choir that met weekly over a 9-month period. Immediately following the choir, small group music therapy sessions were provided to participants. Board-certified music therapy graduate students lead the sessions under Dr. Dileo’s supervision.

Participation in this program resulted in improved psychological well-being, reduced isolation, enhanced social support, and increased hope.

$300,000 Arts and Quality of Life Grant

The Arts and Quality of Life Research Center received a $300,000 grant through the State of Pennsylvania Formula Fund. Four research projects were supported with these monies, all of which focus on enhancing the quality of emotional care for multicultural inpatients with cancer or heart disease through the arts. The specific research projects were as follows:

  • Determining Emotional Support and Coping Needs of Patients with Cancer or Heart Disease
  • Creative, Culturally-Informed Approaches for Addressing Emotional and Physical Parameters, Quality of Life and Hospital Satisfaction of Multicultural Inpatients with Cancer or Heart Disease
  • Creative Approaches for Reducing Burnout in Medical Personnel, and Cochrane Systematic Reviews (Andi will create content under Cochrane Systematic Reviews) on the Effectiveness of the Arts in Enhancing the Quality of Life and the Development a Comprehensive Database on Arts and the Quality of Life for Professionals and the General Public. These reviews are ongoing.

These studies are among the first to investigate the emotional needs of multicultural hospital patients, the influence that music therapy may have on their health and quality of life issues as well as the effect of music therapy on burnout of the staff members who care for them. In addition, the grant supported much needed systematic reviews of the literature.