The Effects of Trauma Exposure and Music Listening Intervention on Distress Tolerance




Lenoir, Annie Bond

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The intent of this study was to examine the effects of trauma and a music listening intervention on distress tolerance. Exposure to trauma and the adverse effects of that exposure have been associated with lower distress tolerance, and music listening has shown the ability to affect the interrelated components of distress tolerance in individuals with and without trauma exposure. The study aimed to (1) assess the relationship between trauma and distress tolerance and (2) evaluate the potential moderating effect music listening has on the relationship between trauma and distress tolerance. The study employed a between-groups, randomized laboratory experiment with 162 participants. Trauma was measured using the PTSD Checklist for the DSM-5, Trauma History Questionnaire, and a potential traumatic event survey question, while distress tolerance was assessed using the self-report Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) and the Cold Pressor Task (CPT) as a measure of physical distress tolerance. A 15-minute classical music intervention served as the intervention. Participants completed baseline measures before being randomly assigned to either the music or control intervention. Following the intervention, participants underwent the CPT, then retook the DTS. More self-reported trauma on each scale correlated with less distress tolerance. Multiple regression analyses that included the 3 trauma scales indicate that only PTSD symptoms remained a significant predictor of self-reported distress tolerance. Trauma measures did not significantly predict physical distress tolerance. Music-listening did not moderate the relationship between trauma and distress tolerance. Future research should explore various music types and individual preferences to better understand music's potential moderating effect on the relationship between trauma and distress tolerance.



Distress Tolerance, Music, Trauma