Effects of the Therapist's Nonverbal Behavior on Participation and Affect of Individuals With Alzheimer's Disease During Group Music Therapy Sessions


Journal of Music Therapy




In healthcare settings, medical professionals' nonverbal behavior impacts patients' satisfaction and long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of a music therapist's nonverbal behavior, affect and proximity, on participation and affect of 38 individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other related dementia (ADRD) during movement- to-music, singing, and instrument playing. Data indicated 62% of the individuals evinced positive affect when the therapist utilized affect and proximity combined, followed by the affect only condition (53%), proximity only condition (30%), and no affect or proximity condition (28%). A Friedman analysis indicated a significant difference in individuals' affect according to treatment conditions, xr² (3, 4) = 34.05, p = .007. Nonverbal behavior also impacted individuals' accuracy of participation, with participation at 79% for both affect and proximity combined, 75% for affect only, 71% for no affect or proximity, and 70% for proximity only. A significant difference occurred for participation by treatment conditions, F (3, 111) = 4.05, p = .009, η² = .10. Clinical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Behavioral State; Body Impr; Emotional Functioning; Improvisation; Mental Health; Mood; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Playing an Instrument; Recreative Music Methods; Singing a Song; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

therapist's nonverbal behavior; Alzheimer's disease; group music therapy; patients' satisfaction; participation; affect; well being; dementia; Nonverbal Communication; Therapists; Client Satisfaction; Emotional Responses

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type