Rhythmic auditory cueing in motor rehabilitation for stroke patients: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: Given the increasing evidence demonstrating the effects of rhythmic auditory cueing for motor rehabilitation of stroke patients, this synthesized analysis is needed in order to improve rehabilitative practice and maximize clinical effectiveness. Objective: This study aimed to systematically analyze the literature on rhythmic auditory cueing for motor rehabilitation of stroke patients by highlighting the outcome variables, type of cueing, and stage of stroke. Methods: A systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled or clinically controlled trials was conducted. Electronic databases and music therapy journals were searched for studies including stroke, the use of rhythmic auditory cueing, and motor outcomes, such as gait and upper-extremity function. Results: A total of 10 studies (RCT or CCT) with 356 individuals were included for meta-analysis. There were large effect sizes (Hedges's g = 0.984 for walking velocity; Hedges's g = 0.840 for cadence; Hedges's g = 0.760 for stride length; and Hedges's g = 0.456 for Fugl-Meyer test scores) in the use of rhythmic auditory cueing. Additional subgroup analysis demonstrated that although the type of rhythmic cueing and stage of stroke did not lead to statistically substantial group differences, the effect sizes and heterogeneity values in each subgroup implied possible differences in treatment effect. Conclusions: This study corroborates the beneficial effects of rhythmic auditory cueing, supporting its expanded application to broadened areas of rehabilitation for stroke patients. Also, it suggests the future investigation of the differential outcomes depending on how rhythmic auditory cueing is provided in terms of type and intensity implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-177
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the American Music Therapy Association 2016. All rights reserved.


  • Gait
  • Motor rehabilitation
  • Rhythmic auditory cueing
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity


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