Impact of Individualised Music Listening Intervention on Persons With Dementia: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials


Australasian Journal on Ageing




OBJECTIVE: To summarise the evidence regarding the impact of individualised music listening on persons with dementia. METHODS: Six electronic databases (CINAHL, Medline, ProQuest, PsycINFO, Music Periodicals and Cochrane) were searched up to July 2018 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy of individualised music listening compared to other music and non-music-based interventions. RESULTS: Four studies were included. Results showed evidence of a positive impact of individualised music listening on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSDs) including agitation, anxiety and depression and physiological outcomes. Evidence for other outcomes such as cognitive function and quality of life was limited. CONCLUSIONS: The limited evidence suggests individualised music listening has comparable efficacy to more resource-intensive interventions. However, there was a small number of RCTs and some outcomes were evaluated by a single study. This limits the conclusions drawn, warranting more RCTs evaluating other outcomes beyond the BPSDs.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Depression; Distress; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening

Indexed Terms

Affect; Anxiety; Dementia; Depression; Psychomotor Agitation; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; dementia; individualised music; intervention; older persons; systematic review

Study Type

Quantitative Methods; Systematic Review

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