Objective: To explore the effects of five-element music therapy on elderly patients with seasonal affective disorder in a Chinese nursing home.
Methods: The patients (n = 50) were recruited from a Shijingshan district nursing home in Beijing, China. They were randomly assigned to two groups, a treatment group and a control group, with 25 participants in each group. The patients received music therapy for 1-2 h each week over an 8-week period. The music therapy involved four phases: introduction, activities, listening to the Chinese five-element music, and a concluding phase. The participants in the control group did not listen to the five-element music. This study consisted of two parts: (a) a qualitative study that used focus groups to understand the feelings of the patients with seasonal affective disorder; (b) a quantitative study that involved administration of the self-rating depression scale (SDS) and Hamilton depression scale (HAMD) before and after treatment.
Results: (a) Qualitative analysis results: strength derived from the five-element group music therapy and emotional adjustment. The five-element group music therapy can reduce patients' psychological distress and let them feel inner peace and enhance their life satisfaction. (b) No significant difference in SDS and HAMD scores was found between the two groups (P > 0.05) prior to treatment. After treatment, the mean SDS score of the control group was 49.9 +/- 18.8, while the treatment group's score was 40.2 +/- 18.1. The HAMD score of the control group was 11.2 +/-3.1, and the treatment group's score was 8.8 +/- 4.9. Following 8 weeks of music therapy, the SDS and HAMD scores of the treatment group were significantly lower than those for the control group (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Five-element music therapy alleviated the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder in the elderly patients.