Dance classes improve self-esteem and quality of life in persons with Parkinson’s disease

Wya Feenstra*, Jorik Nonnekes, Tahmina Rahimi, Heleen A. Reinders-Messelink, Pieter U. Dijkstra, Bas R. Bloem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction: Dance can reduce motor symptoms in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the effect on psychosocial wellbeing, including self-esteem and quality of life is less clear.

Methods: Forty-nine persons with PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage 1–4) participated in weekly dance classes for a consecutive period of 22 weeks, 36 participants completed the classes. Two baseline measurements (T1a and T1b) were performed during a 2-week control period prior to the dance classes. Post-measurements (T2) were performed immediately after 22 weeks of dance classes. Primary outcome was self-esteem as measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Score.

Results: Self-esteem scores were stable across the two baseline measurements and improved significantly after the dance classes (1.5 points improvement between T1b and T2, 95% CI 0.3, 2.7; p = 0.012). Additionally, quality of life as measured with the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire 39 improved significantly (3.4 points reduction between T1b and T2, 95%CI − 5.7, − 1.2; p = 0.003) as did motor symptoms as measured with the Movement Disorders Society-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale—part III (6.2 points reduction between T1b and T2, 95%CI − 10.1, − 2.4; p = 0.002). Balance confidence as measured with the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale did not change.

Discussion and conclusions: Dance classes seem to improve self-esteem, quality of life and motor symptoms in persons with PD. These effects should be investigated further in a randomized clinical trial.

Clinical message: Dance classes may be a valuable complementary treatment option in people with PD to improve not only motor symptoms, but also self-esteem and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5843–5847
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Early online date28-Jun-2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2022


  • Dance
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Quality of life
  • Self-esteem

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