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Dance therapy or dance movement therapy is defined as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process which furthers the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual.” It may be of value for people with developmental, medical, social, physical, or psychological impairments. Dance therapy can be practiced in mental health rehabilitation units, nursing homes, and day care centers and incorporated into disease prevention and health promotion programs.
To evaluate the effects of dance therapy for people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses compared with standard care and other interventions.
We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials Register (July 2007), inspected references of all identified studies (included and excluded), and contacted first authors for additional data.
We included all randomized controlled trials comparing dance therapy and related approaches with standard care or other psychosocial interventions for people with schizophrenia.
We reliably selected, quality assessed, and extracted data. We excluded data where more than 30% of participants were lost to follow-up. For continuous outcomes, we calculated a weighted mean difference (WMD); for binary outcomes, we calculated a fixed-effect risk ratio (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
We included one single blind study (total n=45) of reasonable quality (tables 1 and and22).1It compared dance therapy plus routine care with routine care alone. Most people tolerated the treatment package, but about 40% were lost in each group by 4 months (RR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.31 to 1.51). Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) average endpoint total scores were similar in each group (WMD = −0.50, 95% CI = −11.8 to 10.8) as were the positive subscores (WMD = 2.50, 95% CI = −0.67 to 5.67). At the end of treatment, significantly more people in the dance therapy group had a greater than 20% reduction in PANSS negative symptom score (RR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.39 to 0.97) (figure 1), and overall average negative endpoint scores were lower (WMD = −4.40, 95% CI = −8.15 to 0.65). There was no difference in satisfaction score (average Client's Assessment of Treatment Scale score, WMD = 0.40, 95% CI = −0.78 to 1.58), and quality-of-life data were also equivocal (average Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life score, WMD = 0.00, 95% CI = −0.48 to 0.48).
There is no evidence to support—or refute—the use of dance therapy in this group of people. This therapy remains unproven, and those with schizophrenia, their carers, trialists, and funders of research may wish to encourage future work to increase high-quality evidence in this area. Full details are reported elsewhere.2