Musical Attention Control Training (MACT) in secure residential youth care: a randomised controlled pilot study
With 75% of the population in secure residential youth care diagnosed with attention-related problems, these individuals might benefit from Musical Attention Control Training (MACT). The purpose of this randomised controlled pilot study was to determine the feasibility and preliminary effects of MACT on attention outcomes in secure residential youth care. Because of the generally low treatment motivation of this population, a non-standardised music therapy intervention (NSMT) with similar goals was included to determine if attendance and effects varied between a standardised and non-standardised intervention. Participants (n = 6) were randomly assigned to MACT, NSMT or a control group (TAU). Both MACT- and NSMT-participants followed a six-week program of once-a-week-music therapy sessions of 45 minutes. Outcomes in selective, focused, sustained and alternating attention were measured using the Trail Making Test A + B and the WISC-III Digit Span Forward and Backward, which were assessed at baseline and after respectively six and nine weeks. Results showed that both the interventions and the means of measurement were feasible in this population with an overall attendance rate of 97%. While attention outcomes varied with individual participants, the results demonstrate positive trends wherein more extensive research is necessary to generalize the effects.
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