Effects of Dance on Depression, Physical Function, and Disability in Underserved Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study documented the feasibility and immediate effects of a dance intervention two times per week for 12 weeks on depression, physical function, and disability in older, underserved adults. The one-group, pretest–posttest study had a convenience sample of 40 participants recruited from a federally subsidized apartment complex located in an economically depressed, inner-city neighborhood. Depression, physical function, and disability were measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Average age was 63 years (SD = 7.9), 92% were female, and 75% were African American. At baseline, participants reported increased depression (M = 20.0, SD = 12.4), decreased physical function (M = 56.6, SD = 10.9), and increased disability limitations (M = 65.7, SD = 14.9). At posttest, paired t tests showed that the dance intervention significantly decreased depression, t = 6.11, p < .001, and disability, t = −2.70, p = .014, and significantly increased physical function, t = -2.74, p = .013. The results indicate that the 12-week dance intervention may be an effective adjunct therapy to improve depression, disability, and physical function in underserved adults.

The authors are with the School of Nursing, University of Akron, Akron, OH. Address author correspondence to Christine Heifner Graor at graor@uakron.edu

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