Skip to main content
Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music Search

Tone Kvamme: Glimpse of joy. Music Therapy and Dementia.

How can music therapy influence the mood of dementia-stricken with symptoms of depression and anxiety?

Field of study: Music Therapy


The dissertation describes an empirical study in which six elderly people suffering from dementia have received short-term music therapy. The sessions have been videotaped and standardized instruments have been applied in a Mixed Methods Research Design. Evaluation of change and distinctive features in the processes are focused on.

The main research question is: "Can music therapy influence the state of mind among people with dementia who have symptoms of depression or depression and anxiety?"

The most important findings in the quantitative investigation are statistically significant positive changes in Anxiety and Quality of life after an average of 12 sessions for the group as a whole. The subcategory Anxiety is measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory NPI and Quality of life by the Alzheimer Related Quality of Life ADRQL. Within sessions, there are statistically significant positive changes in the Dementia Mood Picture Test (DMPT) and between sessions in the subcategory Wandering in the “Døgnvariasjonsskjema” (form for 24 hours varieties in behaviour).

The most important results in the qualitative investigation are that the six cases either show an increase or an unchanged degree of attention, response to the music, expressions of emotions, and relational accessibility, both in the beginning and the end of the music therapy period, as well as in the beginning and end/midst of the sessions.

Based on the results yielded here, other research studies within the same area, theories in the fields of neuropsychology, and music psychology about connections between memory and music perception, the conclusion is that music therapy can have a strong impact on the state of mind for people suffering from dementia that have symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The dissertation

Title (translated from Norwegian): Glimpses of joy. Music therapy with elderly people suffering from dementia and depression.

The dissertation is a monograph, and it is available in NMH's digital archive.

Articles relevant

Published: Jun 29, 2015 — Last updated: Feb 21, 2024