Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Natalie Dove


With stress being a common occurrence in society, if left unchecked it can lead to dangerous situations, mentally and physically, for an individual. Music is a facet that has been employed to help manage stress. Hanser (1985) indicates classical music has been used as a tool for relaxation and stress reduction. However, differences in the Big Five personality traits have been linked to differences in the use of music as well. The strongest association between personality and music use is the positive correlation between Neuroticism and emotional use of music, indicating that less emotionally stable individuals seem to show greater music sensitivity (Costa & McCrae, 1992; Juslin & Sloboda, 20 I 0). The purpose of this research is to find what genres of music regulate stress throughout the different Big Five personality traits. 121 students from Eastern Michigan University participated in the study. A pretest was given to each student to assess their perceived stress, music preferences, and personality traits. Upon completion of the pre-test, participants were then randomly assigned to one of the six music groups: R&B/HipHop, Pop, Classical, Rap, Rock, and no music. Students were then asked to complete a stress inducing task within 15 minutes, consisting of a 100 piece puzzle. Upon completion of the study, participants were then given a post-test to evaluate their stress level associated with completing the stress inducing task. Subsequent to the post-test, participants were debriefed on the study, thanked, and released. It was hypothesized that (I) participants in the music group would report less stress than those in the no music group, with classical music having the least amount of perceived stress experienced. It was also hypothesized that those who identified with the personality trait Openness and Conscientiousness would report lower amounts of perceived stress, while those who identified with traits of Neuroticism and Extraversion would report higher levels of perceived stress. Results indicate that the hypotheses were substantiated.