This study explores differences in the use of music in everyday life among diagnostic groups of a psychiatric population (n = 180) in reference to a group of healthy subjects (n = 430). The results indicate that patients with mental disorders use music more for emotion modulation than healthy controls. In particular, patients with substance abuse and those with personality disorders used music mainly for cognitive problem solving and the reduction of negative activation, whereas patients with substance abuse in addition used music not often to stimulate themselves positively. Patients suffering from schizophrenia and personality disorders more often applied music for relaxation than the subjects of the reference group. Furthermore, the degree of severity of the psychiatric disorder correlated with the increased use of music for emotion modulation, i.e., for relaxation and cognitive problem solving. Thus, the results demonstrate an increased use of music for emotion modulation in patients with mental disorders in association with the severity of the disorder.

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