Dance classes improve self-esteem and quality of life in persons with Parkinson's disease

J Neurol. 2022 Nov;269(11):5843-5847. doi: 10.1007/s00415-022-11206-8. Epub 2022 Jun 28.


Introduction: Dance can reduce motor symptoms in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the effect on psychosocial wellbeing, including self-esteem and quality of life is less clear.

Methods: Forty-nine persons with PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage 1-4) participated in weekly dance classes for a consecutive period of 22 weeks, 36 participants completed the classes. Two baseline measurements (T1a and T1b) were performed during a 2-week control period prior to the dance classes. Post-measurements (T2) were performed immediately after 22 weeks of dance classes. Primary outcome was self-esteem as measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Score.

Results: Self-esteem scores were stable across the two baseline measurements and improved significantly after the dance classes (1.5 points improvement between T1b and T2, 95% CI 0.3, 2.7; p = 0.012). Additionally, quality of life as measured with the Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire 39 improved significantly (3.4 points reduction between T1b and T2, 95%CI - 5.7, - 1.2; p = 0.003) as did motor symptoms as measured with the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale-part III (6.2 points reduction between T1b and T2, 95%CI - 10.1, - 2.4; p = 0.002). Balance confidence as measured with the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale did not change.

Discussion and conclusions: Dance classes seem to improve self-esteem, quality of life and motor symptoms in persons with PD. These effects should be investigated further in a randomized clinical trial.

Clinical message: Dance classes may be a valuable complementary treatment option in people with PD to improve not only motor symptoms, but also self-esteem and quality of life.

Keywords: Dance; Parkinson’s disease; Quality of life; Self-esteem.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dance Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / psychology
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires