Dance/Movement Therapy (D/MT) for depression: A scoping review

A Mala, Vicky Karkou, B Meekums

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)
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    Depression affects 121 million people worldwide (WHO, 2010). The socio-economic repercussions of depression are putting an enormous strain on UK and US governmental health budgets. Regarding treatment interventions, D/MT and other arts therapies are widely practiced around the world as a treatment of choice for depression. Research evidence suggests that exercise has positive effects on mood. Similarly, it has been argued that dance has a positive social-cultural influence on a person’s wellbeing. However there are no systematic reviews that support the effectiveness of D/MT for people with a diagnosis of depression. It is therefore important to map the field of existing research studies of D/MT for depression. In this paper a scoping review is presented that engaged with an extensive search to best answer the question: is there good quality research evidence available regarding the effectiveness of D/MT and related fields for the treatment of depression? A search strategy was developed to locate publications from electronic databases, websites, arts therapies organizations and associations using specified criteria for including and excluding studies. All studies meeting the inclusion criteria were then evaluated for their quality, using broad criteria of quality such as type of methodology followed, number of participants, relevance of interventions and specific comparisons made and outcome measures. A total of nine studies were found. Six studies followed a randomized controlled trial design, and three adopted a non randomized design. At least one study met most criteria of quality. We concluded that there was a need to undertake a full systematic review of the literature and to follow a Cochrane Review protocol and procedures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-295
    JournalThe Arts in Psychotherapy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


    • Dance/Movement Therapy
    • Dance movement psychotherapy
    • Depression
    • Effectiveness
    • Systematic review
    • Randomized controlled trials


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