Private Music Listening and Emotional Self-Care in Young Women
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The objective of this study was to build an understanding of how young women use MP3 players as a resource for emotional self-care in their everyday lives. Qualitative inquiry in the hermeneutic and phenomenological tradition was used to gain knowledge about private music listening in the lives of three young women (aged 19–23) and how they perceive this activity both as entertainment and as part of a lifestyle. The general method was to synthesize existing generic literature on emotional self-care with descriptions of how young women use their personal listening devices to influence, modulate, and manage their emotional well-being. Seven themes relating to emotional self-care through music emerged from the interview results: positive mood, comfort, interpersonal connection, expression and validation of emotion, personal reflection, create and protect personal space, and motivation for and accomplishment of daily tasks. Research findings are discussed in relation to literature on music and emotions, adolescent development, the therapeutic process and mobile listening culture. MP3 players were perceived as deeply personal items and were used to influence emotional well-being in a variety of emotional and environmental contexts through its portability and capacity to hold large amounts of music.