A Systematic Review of Scientific Studies on the Effects of Music in People with Personality Disorders

Rowan Haslam, Annie Heiderscheit, Hubertus Himmerich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Personality Disorders (PDs) are psychiatric conditions involving maladaptive personality traits and behaviours. Previous research has shown that musical preferences and the use of music may be related to personality traits. Additionally, music therapy is increasingly being used as a treatment option for people with PDs. Using the PRISMA guidelines, a systematic literature search was undertaken using three databases: PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycInfo. The following search terms were used: PubMed: “personality disorder” AND (music OR “music therapy”); Web of Science (advanced search): TS = (personality disorder) AND TS = (music or “music therapy”); PsycInfo: “personality disorder” AND (music OR “music therapy”). A total of 24 studies were included in this review and summarised into four categories: music preference, music therapy, music performance, and music imagery, all in relation to PDs or traits associated with PDs. The analysis found that individuals with personality traits associated with PDs may prefer different types or genres of music or interact with music differently than those without these traits. Additionally, music therapy (MT) was found to offer a potentially useful treatment option for PDs. The power of these findings was limited by the small number of included studies. This review offers a useful foundation upon which further research looking at MT as a potential treatment option for PDs can be built.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15434
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • music
  • music therapy
  • personality
  • personality disorders


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