About the project
Longitudinal Study of music Therapy’s Effectiveness for Premature infants and their caregivers (LongSTEP) aims to fill a significant gap in knowledge by providing longer term use of music therapy to promote better long-term outcomes for premature infants and their caregivers. LongSTEP is funded by the Research Council of Norway under the programme BEHANDLING (grant no. 273534, grant period 2018-2022).
Controlled research on the impact of music therapy for premature infants and their caregivers demonstrates short-term improvements in infant physiologic and behaviour states, feeding behaviour, and length of hospital stay; as well as decreases in parental distress and anxiety. LongSTEP fills a critical gap in knowledge by providing music therapy over a longer term from hospitalization through the first six months of life, and by assessing long-term outcomes of music therapy for both infant and parent during the first year of the infant’s life.
Since music therapy for premature infants and their caregivers is an emerging area of practice and research in Norway, this study aims to integrate best available evidence from international developments with standards of practice existing in Norwegian health care environments, to create a model of care that is culturally-relevant for social support societies. LongSTEP consists of music therapy with a high level of parental engagement during the course of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization, and a support- and consult-to-parent model of music therapy for the first six months following discharge from initial NICU hospitalization.
The model enables parents to assume a central role in the care of their infant, with the music therapist providing support and coaching to enable parents to use their innate resources to promote developmentally-appropriate co-regulation of the parent/infant dyad, improve quality of interaction and enable healthy bonding during this vulnerable time. The long-term aim is to assure healthy infant/parent relation and improve infant developmental outcomes and promote parental psychological well-being over the first year of the infant’s life.
Team and contact
LongSTEP is an international project hosted by GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, a twin center collaboration between Uni Research Health and University of Bergen, which links NICUs in Bergen and Oslo with those in three other countries with similar social support cultures (Poland, Israel, Columbia).
The core LongSTEP interdisciplinary team consists of researchers and clinicians with competence in biostatistics, international multicentre trial management, practice and theory related to music therapy for premature infants and their caregivers, psychology of parents of premature infants, infant development, neonatal intensive care, and various research methodologies.
A user advisory group and an international scientific advisory committee of clinicians and researchers heralding from United States, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden and Norway help to assure that the project is highly relevant to users and thoughtfully designed and conducted.
A feasibility study examining the acceptability and feasibility of the music therapy protocol and study assessment procedures is currently being carried out in collaboration with Barne- og ungdomsklinikken, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. The feasibility study is funded by the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen, and by POLYFON kunnskapsklynge for musikkterapi.
Core LongSTEP team members:
Principal investigator (1st year) & Co-investigator (subsequent years): Christian Gold, GAMUT, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway
Project coordinator (1st year) & Principal investigator (subsequent years) for international study; Principal investigator for Bergen feasibility study: Claire Ghetti, GAMUT, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Co-investigator: Łucja Bieleninik, GAMUT, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway; and Institute of Psychology, University of Gdańsk, Poland
Co-investigator: Mari Hysing, RKBU Vest – Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway
Co-investigator: Ingrid Kvestad, RKBU Vest – Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Uni Research Health, Bergen Norway
Co-researcher: Bente Vederhus, Barne- og ungdomsklinikken, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
Biostatistician: Jörg Assmus, GAMUT, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway
Information scientist: Jo Dugstad Wake, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway
- Barne- og ungdomsklinikken, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
- Akershus University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
- Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
- Meir Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel
- Clinica de la Mujer, Bogotá, Colombia
- Szpital Miejski w Rudzie Śląskiej Sp. Z o.o, Ruda Śląska, Poland
Additional partnering institutions
- SONO – Centro de Musicoterapia, Bogotá, Colombia
- School of Creative Art Therapy, University of Haifa, Israel
- Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland
- Institute of Psychology, University of Gdańsk, Poland
- King´s College London, UK
Scientific Advisory Committee:
- Deanna Hanson-Abromeit (University of Kansas, USA)
- Friederike Haslbeck (University Hospitals of Zurich and Bern, Switzerland)
- Małgorzata Lipowska (University of Gdansk, Poland)
- Joanne V. Loewy (The Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA)
- Renate Nussberger (Kantonsspital Baden, Switzerland)
- Helen Shoemark (Temple University, USA)
- Alexandra Ullsten (Central Hospital Karlstad, Sweden)