Can an online dance class improve people’s mental health and social connection?
This is the question addressed by Humphries, Rugh, Patrick & Basso (2022) in their research study called: Enhancing Mental Health and Social Connection Through an Acute Online Dance Intervention.
What did they do?
They asked people to take part in either a ballet, modern or jazz online dance class. Before and after the dance class they took a whole load of psychological measurements. They measured people’s positive and negative affect, depression, anxiety, self-esteem and social connectedness.
The researchers found three things:
- They found that an online dance class was associated with an increase in positive affect (in other words people felt more alert, excited and enthusiastic), and a decrease in negative affect (such that people felt less afraid, nervous and distressed). There was also a decrease in feelings of depression after the online dance class.
- The researchers also found an increase in social and community connectedness, such that people felt a closer relationship to their community after taking part in an online dance class with other people.
- They also observed a relationship between changes in mental health and changes in social connectedness, such that positive changes in mental health significantly predicted positive changes in social connection.
What does it tell us about the relationship between dance and mental wellbeing?
This research suggests that taking part in a single 60-minute online dance class can be good for a person’s mental wellbeing and for how socially connected they feel.
Of course, like any other, this study has limitations and it raises many questions about how dance can be applied in both clinical and non-clinical settings. If you want to learn more about the relationship between dance and mental health, take a look at the courses we offer at www.movementinpractice.com
If you want to use dance to help your mental wellbeing you can subscribe to the Move-Assure Dance for Mental Wellbeing Programme, presented by Dame Darcey Bussell and me, Dr Peter Lovatt.
Humphries, A., Rugh, R., Patrick, M. & Basso, J. C. (2022). Enhancing Mental Health and Social Connection Through an Acute Online Dance Intervention. Preprint available at Research Square.
As of 27th April 2022, Humpries et al. (2022) is a preprint and has not been peer reviewed.