Effects of Dance in Chronic Illness: A Systematic Review

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 8:50 AM

Alona Angosta, PhD, APRN, NP-C
School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas,, NV, USA
Patricia K. Gatlin, PhD
School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Reimund Serafica, PhD, MSN, RN
School of Nursing (Physiological Nursing), University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Background: Dance is a social and physical activity. It has been used therapeutically for thousands of years and was thought to influence healing (Ritter & Low, 1996). Research in dance therapy has substantially increased in recent years particularly research related to cancer and among healthy individuals. However, it is unknown whether dance impacts health-related outcomes among individuals with chronic illness. Additionally, empirical studies need to be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of dance as evidence-based intervention.

Purpose: This systematic review explored studies on dance and its impact in chronic illness.

Methods: A literature search was conducted utilizing electronic searches using PubMed, EBSCO, and CINAHL databases. When the keywords “dance,” “chronic illness,” “chronic disease,” “diabetes,” and “cardiovascular disease” were entered, there were 147 studies found. However, only 10 articles met the inclusion criteria of: (a) randomized control trial studies, (b) written in English, (c) published between 2005 and 2014. The Jadad scale (Berger & Alperson, 2009) was used for reporting the quality of the published studies. Three faculty researchers reviewed the studies separately and reached consensus using the scoring criteria.

Findings: Based on the Jadad scoring system, the scores ranged from 7-11 out of 13 points. Dance had positive effects on quality of life (QOL), pain, fatigue, and functional capacity among individuals with fibromyalgia and congestive heart failure (Baptista, Villela, Jones, & Natour, 2012; Belardinelli, Lacalaprice, Ventrella, Volpe, & Faccenda, 2008; Carbonelli-Baeza et al., 2010; Kaltsatou, Kouidi, Anifanti, Douka, & Deligiannis, 2014). Dance had positive effects on QOL, balance, and physical function among individuals with depression, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease (Eyigor, Karapolat, Durmaz, Ibisoglu, & Cakir, 2009; Foster, Golden, Duncan, & Earhart, 2013; Hackney & Earhart, 2009; Mavrovouniotis, Argiriadou, & Papaioannou, 2010; Pinninger, Brown, & Thorsteinsson, 2012). Dance improved the blood pressures of individuals with hypertension (Maruf, Akinpelu, & Salako, 2013).

Conclusions/Implications: This systematic review provides a summary of the current state of research on the effects of dance in chronic illness. This review suggests that dance may be a safe and effective intervention in improving QOL, physical function, blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and anxiety in different populations worldwide.