Dance movement therapy for obese women with emotional eating: A controlled pilot study

Bonnie Meekums, Ieva Vaverniece, Indra Majore-Dusele, Oskars Rasnacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the effectiveness of dance movement therapy (DMT) in obese women with emotional eating who were trying to lose weight. 158 women were recruited from a commercial weight loss programme: 92 with BMI ≥ 28 were identified as emotional eaters and divided into: an exercise control (n= 32) and non-exercisers (n= 60). The non-exercises were partially randomised to non exercise control (n= 30) and treatment group (n= 30). Using a pre- and post-intervention design, 24 of the DMT treatment group, 28 of the exercise control and 27 of the non-exercise control completed all measures on a battery of tests for psychological distress, body image distress, self-esteem and emotional eating. Findings were analysed for statistical significance. The DMT group showed statistically decreased psychological distress, decreased body image distress, and increased self-esteem compared to controls. Emotional eating reduced in DMT and exercise groups. The authors cautiously conclude that DMT could form part of a treatment for obese women whose presentation includes emotional eating. Further research is needed with larger, fully, and blindly randomised samples, a group exercise control, longitudinal follow-up, a depression measure, ITT, and cost analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Body image distress
  • Controlled study psychological distress
  • Dance movement therapy
  • Emotional eating
  • Obesity

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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