This research investigates the efficacy of a dance intervention of moderate length (10 weeks, 45 min/week) on a sample of old-old adults living in a residential care setting. The study focused on the effect of the intervention on aspects of cognitive functioning (short-term memory, executive functioning). In addition, changes in general self-efficacy and life satisfaction were investigated. Twenty-four older adults (mean age M = 80.8), with no cognitive impairments, participated in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to two programs: the experimental group attended the dance intervention, while the active control group was involved in an alternative (nondance) program. A pretest, posttest, and follow-up measurement was conducted. A 2 × 3 mixed design ANOVA revealed benefits in short-term memory and executive functioning for the trained group, but not for the active control, and this benefit was maintained at the 5 months follow-up. These results suggest that training procedures, based on dance, could improve cognitive functioning in the old-old.
Kosmat and Vranic are with the Department of Psychology, University of Zagreb, Croatia.