The effect of rhythmic exercises on cognition and behaviour of maltreated children: a pilot study

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Jul;15(3):326-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.06.006. Epub 2010 Jul 24.


Objectives: This study assesses the effect of rhythmic exercises using Rhythmex(®) program on the cognitive function and behaviour of maltreated children living in a group residential facility.

Method: School age children (ages 6-9) participated in the study, one group of 23 children exercised with Rhythmex rhythmic exercise program for eight weeks, 2-3 times a week, for 5 min, while a second group of 14 children did not exercise. Both groups took the Visual-Motor Integration (VMI) test pre- and post-intervention and social workers evaluated their behaviour on the Achenbach's Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) pre-intervention and then 12 months later.

Results: Improvement of 12 months on average in the VMI scores from pre- to post-intervention among the exercise group participants was observed compared with the control group. Aggressive behaviour was significantly lower on the Achenbach's CBCL aggression subscale among the exercise group participants compared with the control group.

Conclusion: Rhythmic exercises for 5 min, 2-3 times a week for 8 weeks appear to be effective in improving VMI scores and lowering aggressive behaviour among maltreated children when compared to children of the same age who did not participate in the rhythmic exercises program.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / rehabilitation*
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Emotions
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Time Factors