Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Karson

Second Advisor

Kim Gorgens

Third Advisor

Sarah Lukens


Music, Psychology, Mental health, Intersubjective, Touring


Research shows that professional musicians tend to experience higher rates of mental health challenges compared to the general population. While there are a number of underlying factors and historical experiences that may help us to better understand these psychological struggles, I will be examining the relational system between musician and the music industry beginning at the time in which an amateur musician transitions to the professional realm. With this transition comes incredible demand and pressure from the industry. Professional musicians are at the mercy of grueling tour schedules where they spend months away from loved ones, must be "on" at every performance to win over audiences, and are harshly judged on their creative output. All of this occurs within a notoriously fickle and competitive industry. If you aren't willing to do all the "right" things, the industry will find someone else that will. What's more, even if you do all the "right" things, there is still no guarantee of success. This relational dynamic between musicians and the music industry is fertile ground for pathological accommodation and psychological struggle.

Publication Statement

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35 pgs