Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Dance is effective in relieving depression and anxiety

Barnish MS, Nelson-Horne RV. Group-based active artistic interventions for adults with primary anxiety and depression: a systematic review. BMJ Open 2023;13:e069310. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-069310


Objectives This systematic review examined the potential benefit of all group-based performing arts interventions for primary anxiety and/or depression.

Setting Scholarly literature from any country or countries globally.

Data sources Three key bibliographic databases, Google Scholar and relevant citation chasing.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Depression and/or anxiety symptom severity, well-being, quality of life, functional communication or social participation.

Results Database searches returned a total of 63 678 records, of which 56 059 remained following dededuplication. From these database searches, a total of 153 records proceeded to full-text screening. These were supplemented by 18 additional unique full-text screening records from Google Scholar searches and citation chasing (12% of total). From a total of 171 records at the full-text screening stage, 12 publications (7%) were eligible for inclusion in this systematic review, each reporting on a separate study. Published from 2004 to 2021, these studies involved a total of 669 participants with anxiety and/or depression from nine countries and covered five broad artistic modalities: dance, music therapy, art therapy, martial arts and theatre. Dance was the most studied artistic modality (five studies), while there were three studies on art therapy, two on music therapy and one each on martial arts and theatre. The evidence was clearest for a benefit of arts therapies on depression and/or anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions This systematic review addresses all group-based active arts interventions in a focused population of primary anxiety and/or depression. The evidence suggests that the arts may be a useful therapeutic medium in this population. However, a substantial limitation of the evidence base is the lack of studies directly comparing different artistic modalities. Moreover, not all artistic modalities were assessed for all outcome domains. Therefore, it is not currently possible to determine which artistic modalities are most beneficial for which specific outcomes.

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