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Art therapy as an adjuvant treatment for depression in elderly women: a randomized controlled trial

Objective:

There are few quantitative studies on art therapy for the treatment of depression. The objective of this study was to evaluate if art therapy is beneficial as an adjuvant treatment for depression in the elderly.

Methods:

A randomized, controlled, single-blind study was carried out in a sample of elderly women with major depressive disorder (MDD) stable on pharmacotherapy. The experimental group (EG) was assigned to 20 weekly art therapy sessions (90 min/session). The control group (CG) was not subjected to any adjuvant intervention. Patients were evaluated at baseline and after 20 weeks, using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and cognitive measures.

Results:

Logistic regression analysis adjusted for age revealed that women in EG (n=31) had significant improvement in GDS (p = 0.007), BDI (p = 0.025), and BAI (p = 0.032) scores as compared with controls (n=25). No difference was found in the cognitive measures.

Conclusion:

Art therapy as an adjunctive treatment for MDD in the elderly can improve depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Clinical trial registration:

RBR-2YXY7Z

Art therapy; depression; anxiety; elderly patients; clinical trial


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