Effectiveness of a Combined Dance and Relaxation Intervention on Reducing Anxiety and Depression and Improving Quality of Life among the Cognitively Impaired Elderly

Dina Adam, Ayiesah Ramli, Suzana Shahar


Objectives: Cognitive impairment is a common problem among the elderly and is believed to be a precursor to dementia. This study aimed to explore the effectiveness of a combined dance and relaxation intervention as compared to relaxation alone in reducing anxiety and depression levels and improving quality of life (QOL) and cognitive function among the cognitively impaired elderly. Methods: This quasi-experimental study was conducted between May and December 2013 in Peninsular Malaysia. Subjects from four government residential homes for older adults aged ≥60 years with mild to moderate cognitive function as assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination were included in the study. Subjects were divided into an intervention group and a control group; the former participated in a combined poco-poco dance and relaxation intervention whilst the latter participated in relaxation exercises only. Both groups participated in two sessions per week for six weeks. Anxiety and depression were self-assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and QOL was self-assessed using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease questionnaire. Results: A total of 84 elderly subjects were included in the study; 44 were in the intervention group and 40 were in the control group. When compared to control subjects, those in the intervention group showed significantly decreased anxiety (P <0.001) and depression (P <0.001) levels as well as improved QOL (P <0.001) and cognitive impairment (P <0.001). Conclusion: Dance as a form of participation-based physical exercise was found to reduce anxiety and depression levels and improve QOL and cognitive function among the studied sample of cognitively impaired elderly subjects in Malaysia.


Mild Cognitive Impairment; Dance Therapy; Quality of Life; Anxiety; Depression; Malaysia.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2016.16.01.009


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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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