Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



The ability of music to produce calming effects on us is well documented, and its use is becoming an increasingly accepted intervention with populations displaying agitated and disruptive behaviors, such as people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementias. One reason for its widespread use is because research has demonstrated music’s efficacy in reducing agitation, and consequently disruptive behaviors, in those with AD. Prior studies on music’s effects on agitation in older people with AD have utilized either recorded music used passively, or active sessions with a music therapist or musicians, but none have compared the effects of each type of intervention. The purpose of the current study is to examine music’s effects on levels of agitation in people with AD or other dementias. The research design is quasi-experimental, utilizing a convenience sample of people with AD who live at home and are cared for by an informal caregiver. The current study is unique in several ways. First, past studies of music interventions with people with AD and related dementias have used either passive or active interventions, but have not compared the effects of both as the current study attempts to do. Next, past studies of music therapy with people with dementia have not examined how participation during the music sessions affects agitated behaviors. Past studies have demonstrated variations in participants’ responses to music therapy and activities, and this may be due to whether or not the participant is actually engaged with the intervention. This study assesses engagement by including participation as a variable. Lastly, the current study utilizes a unique sample of people with AD and related dementias who will continue to live at home during the course of the study.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Page, Timothy



Included in

Social Work Commons