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J Music Ther. 2000 Fall;37(3):170-82.

The effect of reminiscence music therapy sessions on changes in depressive symptoms in elderly persons with dementia.

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The Florida State University, Florida, USA.


This study examined the effectiveness of reminiscence focused music therapy treatment on depressive symptoms in elderly people with dementia. Twenty elderly (3 male & 17 female) who were diagnosed as having dementia and residing at 2 different residential care facilities in Florida were assigned to 1 of 4 small groups. Each of the participants served as his or her own control in an O1 O2 X O3 design. The depressive symptoms were measured using Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia. The differences between the scores of pretest, posttest 1 after a week of 5-day no treatment, and posttest 2 after a week of 5-day reminiscence focused music therapy treatment were compared. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Newman-Keuls Multiple Comparison Procedure indicated statistically significant differences between pretest and posttest 2 as well as posttest 1 and posttest 2, while no significant differences were found between pretest and posttest 1. Results indicated that participation in small group reminiscence focused music therapy groups might help to reduce depressive symptoms in elderly people with dementia. Results of behavioral observations and future implications are also discussed.

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