Group-based performing arts-based therapies appear to lower anxiety and depression, according to a systematic review.
The researchers reviewed 171 studies, out of which 12 met the screening criteria and were taken forward. The included studies were published from 2004 to 2021 and involved 669 participants with anxiety and/or depression from nine countries.
The studies covered five forms of performance art: dance music therapy, art therapy, martial arts-based therapies and theatre. Dance was the most studied art form (five studies).
Lead researcher at the University of Exeter Dr Max Barnish, said: ‘Anxiety and depression are major global health challenges, for which we desperately need non-drug treatments that reduce symptoms. Our review found real promise across a range of studies.’
Dr Barnish also stressed that research is now needed ‘to work across the performing arts to compare group therapies to each other, so we can establish which type of activity is most effective.’
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