Virtual Group Music Therapy for Apathy in Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study.

TitleVirtual Group Music Therapy for Apathy in Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsShah-Zamora D, Anderson S, Barton B, Fleisher JE
JournalJ Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol
Date Published2023 May 18

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of virtual group music therapy on apathy in people with Parkinson's disease (PD).

INTRODUCTION: Apathy affects 40% of people with PD, lacks effective therapies, and independently predicts poorer quality of life and greater caregiver burden. Music therapy is the clinical application of music to address a person's physical or emotional needs and is effective in treating apathy in dementia.

METHODS: People with idiopathic PD and apathy (Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, apathy item 2) and their caregivers participated in twelve, weekly virtual group music therapy sessions, with session attendance signifying adherence. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention assessments of apathy (Apathy Scale (AS)), quality of life (Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-short form), functional ability (Schwab & England Activities of Daily Living Scale), depression (Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II)), and cognition (Montreal Cognitive Assessment-Blind). Among secondary outcomes, we assessed caregiver burden (Zarit Burden Interview-short form) and strain (Multidimensional Caregiver Strain Index).

RESULTS: Sixteen PD participants (93.8% men, mean age 68.3 8.4 years, median 6 years PD duration) and their caregivers (93.8% women, mean age 62.6 11 years) completed the study. All PD participants and 88% of caregivers were >70% adherent to the intervention. Apathy (AS, effect size = 0.767, = 0.002) and depression (BDI-II, effect size = 0.542, = 0.03) improved, with no change in caregiver measures.

CONCLUSION: Group music therapy is an effective treatment for apathy in PD and may improve mood. The virtual format is a feasible alternative to in-person sessions with high adherence and satisfaction.

Alternate JournalJ Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol
PubMed ID37201184