McDermott_2018.pdf (1.07 MB)
Download file

Psychosocial interventions for people with dementia: a synthesis of systematic reviews.

Download (1.07 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 03.05.2018, 13:04 by Orii McDermott, Georgina Charlesworth, Eef HogervorstEef Hogervorst, Charlotte Stoner, Esme Moniz-Cook, Aimee Spector, Emese Csipke, Martin Orrell
OBJECTIVES: Over the last 10 years there has been a multitude of studies of psychosocial interventions for people with dementia. However, clinical services face a dilemma about which intervention should be introduced into clinical practice because of the inconsistency in some of the findings between different studies and the differences in the study qualities and trustworthiness of evidence. There was a need to provide a comprehensive summary of the best evidence to illustrate what works. METHODS: A review of the systematic reviews of psychosocial interventions in dementia published between January 2010 and February 2016 was conducted. RESULTS: Twenty-two reviews (8 physical, 7 cognitive, 1 physical/cognitive and 6 other psychosocial interventions) with a total of 197 unique studies met the inclusion criteria. Both medium to longer-term multi-component exercise of moderate to high intensity, and, group cognitive stimulation consistently show benefits. There is not sufficient evidence to determine whether psychological or social interventions might improve either mood or behaviour due to the heterogeneity of the studies and interventions included in the reviews. CONCLUSION: There is good evidence that multi-component exercise with sufficient intensity improves global physical and cognitive functions and activities of daily living skills. There is also good evidence that group-based cognitive stimulation improves cognitive functions, social interaction and quality of life. This synthesis also highlights the potential importance of group activities to improve social integration for people with dementia. Future research should investigate longer-term specific outcomes, consider the severity and types of dementia, and investigate mechanisms of change.


This article presents independent research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): ES/L001802/2. Orii McDermott received funding from Velux Foundation, Denmark.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Aging Ment Health


1 - 11


MCDERMOTT, O. al., 2018. Psychosocial interventions for people with dementia: a synthesis of systematic reviews. Aging and Mental Health, 23 (4), pp.393-403.


© The Authors. Published by Taylor and Francis


VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: by/4.0/

Acceptance date


Publication date



This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Taylor and Francis under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: