Immediate effects of individualized music listening on behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: A randomized controlled trial


International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry




OBJECTIVES: Evidence suggests that individualized music listening (IML) can effectively reduce the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). So far, however, studies have been primarily based on questionnaire measures of BPSD completed by proxy. We therefore investigate effects of IML on BPSD based on systematic observation. We address the methodological limitations of previous observational studies by using a validated instrument, time-based sampling, and longitudinal analytical methods. METHODS: We compared BPSD of nursing home residents with dementia in an IML intervention group (IG; n = 44) and a control group (CG; n = 46) in a randomized controlled trial (DRKS00013793; ISRCTN59052178). Trained raters observed 18 BPSD in 15 four-minute intervals before, during and after an IML session. We used t-tests to compare BPSD in the IG and CG before, during and after the session and piecewise latent curve modelling to compare BPSD trajectories across 1 hour. RESULTS: BPSD were observed less frequently in the IG than in the CG during, but not before or after the session. Likewise, whereas the CG experienced a stable trajectory of BPSD, the IG experienced a u-shaped trajectory characterized by stability before the session, a decrease during the session, and increase after the session. There was significant interindividual variability in baseline BPSD and in the pre- and post-session slopes. DISCUSSION: Our results provide additional evidence that IML effectively reduces BPSD, although the effect is short-lived. As IML rarely has negative side effects, is highly accepted and easily implemented, IML should be integrated into the everyday care routines for people with dementia. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00013793; ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN59052178.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Neurodegenerative Disorders; Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Behavioral State; Psychological Outcomes; Observational Measures; Music Medicine; Music Listening; Recorded Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Dementia; behavioral observation; Behavioral Symptoms; eldercare; music-medicine; neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia; non-pharmacological treatment; piecewise growth function

Study Type

Randomized Controlled Trial; Quantiative Methods

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