Effects of dance on mood and potential of dance as a mental health intervention

McKenzie, Karen, Bowes, Rachael and Murray, Kara (2021) Effects of dance on mood and potential of dance as a mental health intervention. Mental Health Practice, 24 (3). pp. 12-17. ISSN 1465-8720

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.7748/mhp.2021.e1522


Background Restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in people having to find new ways to exercise. One such way is dance, an activity that can be undertaken at home and adapted to suit most people’s abilities. Dance has been shown to have physical and psychological benefits, but little is known about the effect of dance on mood according to dance style.

Aim To explore the effect of dance on mood in two groups of participants – one engaging in ballet and the other in tap – compared with a control group, and to assess whether the effect of dance on mood differs depending on dance style.

Methods Eighty-two participants (78 females) recruited from three dance schools and clubs in the Midlands and the north-east of England completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) mood scale. Participants in the intervention groups completed the PANAS before and after participating in a ballet class or a tap class. Participants in the control group completed the PANAS before and after a one-hour wait in a similar environment to the two dance groups.

Results Participating in a dance class, whether ballet or tap, resulted in greater improvements in mood than being in the control group. Both age and dance class status predicted improved mood, but age was a stronger predictor than dance class status. There was no statistically significant difference in mood improvements between those attending a ballet class and those attending a tap class.

Conclusion Dance may offer a way of enhancing mood, particularly for those who are restricted to exercising at home. Mental health nurses could consider using dance as a mental health intervention in addition to more traditional therapeutic approaches, potentially as a social prescription intervention.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dance styles; positive affect; negative affect
Subjects: C800 Psychology
W500 Dance
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 09:09
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 11:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/44049

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