Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger

Second Advisor

Dr. Martina Vasil


Decreased respiratory functioning is a common symptom of spinal cord injury (SCI) and can impact individuals’ personal, professional, and social lives. In spite of this, researchers have not explored the use of music in the lives of individuals with SCIs or music’s role in their healthcare professionals’ treatment plans to improve respiratory functioning. The purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand how decreased respiratory functioning affects individuals with SCIs and healthcare professionals through a multiple case study design. Participants were two individuals with SCIs and three healthcare professionals (physical therapist, recreational therapist, and music therapist) who worked with individuals with SCIs. Findings showed that decreased respiratory functioning affected many aspects of life for participants living with SCIs and multiple factors of treatment goals for healthcare professionals. Anxiety, stress, sexual functioning, and trouble sleeping were among the factors affecting participants with SCIs, while decreased treatment times and lightheadedness/loss of consciousness were included in considerations for healthcare professionals. Most participants only used music for entertainment, but some noted the value of singing with preferred music and music for anxiety reduction. Individuals with SCIs may benefit from music therapy interventions to decrease anxiety and improve their quality of life.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)