Comparing the Effects of Cognitive Stimulation, Reminiscence, and Aroma-Massage on Agitation and Depressive Mood in People With Dementia

Ya Ping Yang, Feng Ping Lee, Hui Chen Chao, Fang Yu Hsu, Jing Jy Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST), reminiscence therapy (RT), and aroma-massage therapy (AT) are believed to be beneficial for people with dementia (PwD). However, the comparing effects of these interventions have not been reported in previous studies. The purpose of this research was thus to compare the effects of these 3 interventions on alleviating agitation and depressive mood in PwD. Design A cohort study with pre- and post-tests was conducted. Methods A total of 102 PwD from 10 long-term care facilities were allocated to RT (n = 43), CST (n = 29), or AT (n = 29) groups. The participants received the interventions once a week for 8 to 10 consecutive weeks. The participants were evaluated using the Chinese version of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory and the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia before and shortly after the intervention. One-way ANOVA and ANCOVA were used to analyze the data. Results Significant differences in the effects on agitation and depressive symptoms in PwD were found among the 3 interventions (P = .013 and P < .001, respectively). Post hoc analysis showed that AT was more effective than RT and CST in improving agitated behaviors (P = .006 and P < .001, respectively), and was also more effective than CST and RT in alleviating depressive symptoms (both P < .001). Conclusions Our findings indicate that among the 3 alternative remedies, AT can be a more effective intervention than CST and RT with regard to alleviating the agitated behavior and depressive symptoms of PwD. Given that agitated behavior and depressive mood are common among institutionalized PwD, and staff working in long-term care facilities often lack knowledge and time to manage such behaviors, the findings of this study can contribute to future clinical practice in long-term care facilities. In addition, aroma-massage has the advantage of being an easy-to-learn intervention for staff working with PwD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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