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J Aging Phys Act. 2014 Jul;22(3):380-5. doi: 10.1123/japa.2013-0003. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Effects of dance on depression, physical function, and disability in underserved adults.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of Akron, Akron, OH.


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.

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