Effects of Dance Movement Therapy on Adult Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Abstract. This study examines the effects of dance movement therapy (DMT) on empathy for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). DMT based on the embodiment approach offers body-centered interventions, such as mirroring techniques, to address the needs of ASD patients. Accordingly, findings of a feasibility study suggest that DMT may be an effective approach for clients on the ASD spectrum. The present study is a randomized controlled trial that was conducted as a multicenter study within the framework of the EU-funded research project TESIS (Toward an Embodied Science of Intersubjectivity), and employed a two-factorial between-subject design. The treatment group () participated in a 10- week manualized DMT intervention, whereas the control group () received treatment only after a waiting period. Empathy, measured with the Cognitive and Emotional Empathy Questionnaire (CEEQ), was the main variable of interest, analyzed by a repeated measures analysis of variance. In order to also include incomplete data cases, we used the expectation-maximization algorithm for missing data estimation. Results suggest no significant changes in overall empathy between groups. We discuss the results and limitations, as well as future research options.

Research Collaborators​
Fuchs, T., Manders, E., Steffinger, L., Hirjak, D., Sieber, M., ... & Koch, S.