The Effects of Music Therapy on Reducing Agitation in Patients With Alzheimer's Disease, a Pre-post Study


International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry




One of the important challenges in nowadays societies is the increasing number of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related problems. Common intrusive behaviors such as agitation place burden on patients, caregivers, and health care providing system. Many treatments, medical and non-medical, are suggested for coping with these behaviors. Among those interventions music therapy seems to be the most effective and the least harmful one. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of various methods of music therapy on reducing agitation in patients with AD. The sample consisted of 26 AD patients from Behzisti of city of Shahriar who lived in four nursing homes. They were selected according to DSM IV criteria and Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) scores. Ten patients were assigned to control group and 16 to experimental group. The experimental group was divided into four sub-groups: the group that was exposed to listening to preferred music individually, the group that was exposed to group listening to preferred music, the group that was exposed to group listening to nonpreferred music, and the group that was exposed to group singing of preferred music. Following sample selection, the study was described to the patients and their caregivers and then written informed consent was obtained. Preferred music were chosen by participants, their family, and their caregivers and non-preferred music which were chosen by experimenter were similar to Vivaldi’s four seasons (Thompson and Moulin, 2005) with minor scale and slow theme. The instruments used in this research were Cohen– Mansfield agitation inventory (CMAI) and MMSE. CMAI consists of 16 likert-form items from 1(never) and 7(many times in 1 h). The caregivers score this inventory according to patient’s behaviors in recent 2 weeks. The content validity of this inventory in Iran has been measured with good inter-rater consistency of three experts and the test–retest reliability of the scale in a sample of 100 AD patients and 100 normal elderly persons yielded a score of 0.98 within 1-week period. MMSE is standardized in Iran with reported test–retest reliability of 0.73 (Bohairayee, 2000). to suggest that intervening early in AD improves outcome, by delaying institutionalisation up to 9 months. Prospective studies of early intervention, and a quantitative analysis of which psychosocial interventions are most effective, are awaited.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Agitation; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Likert Scale; Long-Term Care Facility; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Quality of Life; Recreative Music Methods; Self-Report Measures; Singing a Song; Symptom Management

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Alzheimer Disease; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Psychomotor Agitation; Quality of Life

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type