Visual art therapy and cognition: effects on people with mild cognitive impairment and low education level

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Oxford University Press
Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the effects of visual art therapy (VAT) on cognition, psychological and functional ability of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and low education. Methods A single-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted among 127 older adults with MCI, mean age 73.6 years, and level of education in years, median (range) = 0 (0–9). The intervention group received 12 VAT sessions over 6 weeks. The control group received 6 health education sessions. The outcomes measures at baseline, immediately postintervention, at 3-month, and 6-month follow-up included global cognitive functions, depression, mental well-being, and instrumental activities of daily living functions. Results The intervention group demonstrated greater improvement than the control group in global cognition (β = 2.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.16, 3.97, p < .001, standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.75) and depression (β = −2.01, 95% CI = −3.09, −0.93, p < .001, SMD = −0.93) immediately postintervention. The effects on cognitive functions were sustained at 3 and 6 months follow-up. The differential effect of VAT on mental well-being and functional ability compared to health education were undetectable. Discussion VAT can improve cognitive functions and mood status of older adults with MCI who have no or low education.
Abstract. The full- text article is available at
Art therapy, Visual Art Therapy, VAT, Mild Cognitive Impairment, MCI, Nonpharmacological treatment, Randomized controlled trial, Tanzania
Masika, G. M., Yu, D. S., Li, P. W., Lee, D. T., & Nyundo, A. (2021). Visual art therapy and cognition: Effects on people with mild cognitive impairment and low education level. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.