Effects of an African circle dance programme on internally displaced persons with depressive symptoms: A quasi-experimental study

Dauda Salihu, Eliza M.L. Wong, Rick Y.C. Kwan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have been forced to flee their homes due to disasters. Depressive symptoms, at over 31–67%, are prevalent in IDPs in Africa. Despite the evidence for the benefits of the promotion of dance interventions on psychological health, supporting information is needed to outline the benefits of an African Circle Dance (ACD) intervention for IDPs in Africa. Methods: A quasi-experimental design (pre-/post-test) was employed. Two IDP camps were randomized into the intervention group (psychoeducation and ACD intervention) and the control group (psychoeducation). Adults aged ≥18 years, living in an IDP camp, able to perform brisk walking, and who scored ≥10 on a depressive symptoms subscale were recruited. The intervention group received an 8-week ACD dance intervention and two 1-h psychoeducation sessions on stress management; the controls only received the psychoeducation sessions. Outcomes were depressive symptoms, stress, and anxiety. Data were collected at baseline (T0), immediately after the intervention at week 8 (T1), and at week 12 (T2) at the post-intervention and follow-up session. A generalized estimating equation was used to test the effects of the ACD intervention, with a 0.05 significance level. Results: 198 IDPs completed the study (ncontrol = 98; nintervention = 100). The intervention group reported significantly greater improvements in depressive symptoms (v = 0.33, p < 0.001) and stress (v = 0.15, 0.008) than did the control group. Conclusions: ACD could be a valuable complementary intervention in health promotion but more research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number843
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • African circle dance
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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