Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Andrew Farina


This study explored whether passive music listening caused a decrease in dental anxiety experienced by adult dental hygiene patients and whether there was a difference between genres of music: classical, jazz or pop. This study also looked at the effect of song familiarity and patient music preference on any decrease in anxiety. I worked with sixty adult patients, who were randomly assigned to listen to classical, jazz, pop, or no music at all. Each patient took a dental anxiety survey before and after their teeth cleaning. These surveys were based on the Modified Corah Dental Anxiety Scale. Music was selected from the iTunes highest download charts for each genre. I found that patients not considered to have moderate to severe anxiety had no statistically significant difference compared to the control. However, those with high anxiety who listened to classical music did have a statistically significant decrease in anxiety compared to the high anxiety control group (p=0.0045). Song familiarity and patient preference did not have a significant effect on a decrease in anxiety scores. Data was analyzed using single factor ANOVA tests and unequal variance t-Tests. Passive music listening does not have a significant effect on adult dental hygiene patients that have less than moderate dental anxiety. Classical music caused the greatest decrease, and the only statistically significant decrease. This may be because the melodies are accessible to a wide audience, transform throughout a piece, and are typically at a slower tempo than in jazz or pop.

Included in

Music Commons