Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Kate Myers-Coffman


Little research has been done exploring the significance of affinity group membership in the profession of music therapy. In this study, 48 music therapy students and professionals who identified as a part of an affinity group connected to their marginalized identities were surveyed, answering open- and closed-ended questions related to their experiences of a sense of belongingness, acculturative stress, and burnout in professional environments. Quantitative data were analyzed using cross-tabulation descriptive statistics through Google Forms and qualitative data were analyzed through thematic analysis. The quantitative data highlighted how affinity group membership plays a significant role in the sense of belongingness for marginalized music therapy students and professionals. They also suggested that many participants experienced similar challenges and feelings in differing spaces (e.g., work, school) related to their marginalized identities. Thematic findings revealed that affinity group membership promoted feelings of belongingness, confidence in expressing one’s marginalized identity, increased comfort in advocacy for self and others, reduced inclination to assimilate to dominant societal norms, and increased cultural sensitivity in music therapy practice. This research suggests that music therapy educational and professional environments should be more intentional about providing affinity spaces and access to resources for marginalized students and professionals. More research can be done to explore the relationship between the sense of belongingness among marginalized music therapy students and professionals and job satisfaction, higher education, burnout levels, and sociocultural locations

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons