Reliability of the Music in Everyday Life (MEL) Scale: A Parent-Report Assessment for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Tali Gottfried, Grace Thompson, Cochavit Elefant, Christian Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: For young children on the autism spectrum, the inclusion of shared parent-child music activities in everyday life may provide additional opportunities for social interactions in the home. However, no psychometrically validated assessment exists to measure the extent of shared music activity within family or community contexts. Objective: This study aimed to develop and test the reliability of a selfreport assessment to measure the use of Music in Everyday Life (MEL) by parents with young children on the autism spectrum. Methods: A total of 45 mothers of children with autism aged between 4 and 7 years completed the MEL questionnaire. Internal consistency and item-total correlation were examined. Results: Analysis confirmed the reliability of two predetermined subscales: Music in Everyday Life-Joint Activities using Music (MEL-JAM) and Music in Everyday Life-Routine Activities using Music (MEL-RAM). Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.63 and 0.75) and positive item-total correlation (Pearson's r between .23 to .62 for MEL-JAM and between .30 to .67 for MEL-RAM) were demonstrated. Conclusions: The reliability of the MEL assessment to measure the use of music in everyday life by parents with their children with autism was confirmed, filling an important gap in the availability of assessment tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-155
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the first author’s degree of PhD in Music Therapy at Aalborg University, Denmark. The participants of this study were all recruited for the large randomized controlled trial (the TIME-A trial, ISRCTN78923965), which was funded by the Research Council of Norway (project number 213844). The authors would like to thank the participants for kindly completing the assessments, and the collaborators for providing and collecting the data for this study: Karin Mössler, Lucja Bieleninik, and Jörg Assmus.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Music Therapy Association. All rights reserved.


  • assessment
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • music in everyday life
  • music therapy
  • parents
  • rating scale
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Music


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