Effects of dance movement therapy and dance on health- related psychological outcomes: A meta-analysis


Abstract. In this meta-analysis, we evaluated the effectiveness of dance movement therapy (DMT) and the therapeutic use of dance for the treatment of health-related psychological problems. Research in the field of DMT is growing, and 17 years have passed since the last and only general meta-analysis on DMT (Ritter & Low, 1996) was conducted. This study examines the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of DMT and dance from 23 primary trials () on the variables of quality of life, body image, well-being, and clinical outcomes, with sub-analysis of depression, anxiety, and interpersonal competence. Results suggest that DMT and dance are effective for increasing quality of life and decreasing clinical symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Positive effects were also found on the increase of subjective well-being, positive mood, affect, and body image. Effects for interpersonal competence were encouraging, but due to the heterogenity of the data remained inconclusive.
Methodological shortcomings of many primary studies limit these encouraging results and, therefore, further investigations to strengthen and expand upon evidence-based research in DMT are necessary. Implications of the findings for health care, research, and practice are discussed.

Research Collaborators​
Kunz, T., Lykou, S., & Cruz, R.