Effects of music on depression in older people: A randomised controlled trial

Moon Fai Chan*, Zi Yang Wong, Hideaki Onishi, Naidu Vellasamy Thayala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. To determine the effect of music on depression levels in older adults. Background. Depression is a common psychiatric disorder in older adults, and its impacts on this group of people, along with its conventional treatment, merit our attention. Conventional pharmacological methods might result in dependence and impairment in psychomotor and cognitive functioning. Listening to music, which is a non-pharmacological method, might reduce depression. Design. A randomised controlled study. Method. The study was conducted from July 2009-June 2010 at participants' home in Singapore. In total, 50 older adults (24 using music and 26 control) completed the study after being recruited. Participants listened to their choice of music for 30minutes per week for eight weeks. Outcome measures. Depression scores were collected once a week for eight weeks. Results. Depression levels reduced weekly in the music group, indicating a cumulative dose effect, and a statistically significant reduction in depression levels was found over time in the music group compared with non-music group. Conclusions. Listening to music can help older people to reduce their depression level. Relevance to clinical practice. Music is a non-invasive, simple and inexpensive therapeutic method of improving life quality in community-dwelling older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-783
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Music intervention
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of music on depression in older people: A randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this