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A new music therapy engagement scale for persons with dementia

  • Jane Tan (a1), Shiou-Liang Wee (a2) (a3), Pei Shi Yeo (a2), Juliet Choo (a4), Michele Ritholz (a5) and Philip Yap (a1) (a2)...

To develop and validate a new scale to assess music therapy engagement in persons with dementia (PWDs).


A draft scale was derived from literature review and >2 years of qualitative recording of PWDs during music therapy. Content validity was attained through iterative consultations, trial sessions, and revisions. The final five-item Music Therapy Engagement scale for Dementia (MTED) assessed music and non-music related elements. Internal consistency and inter-rater reliability were assessed over 120 music therapy sessions. MTED was validated with the Greater Cincinnati Chapter Well-being Observation Tool, Holden Communication Scale, and Participant Engagement Observation Checklist – Music Sessions.

Setting and participants:

A total of 62 PWDs (83.2 ± 7.7 years, modified version of the mini-mental state examination = 13.2/30 ± 4.1) in an acute hospital dementia unit were involved.


The mean MTED score was 13.02/30 ± 4.27; internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.87) and inter-rater reliability (intra-class correlation = 0.96) were good. Principal component analysis revealed a one-factor structure with Eigen value > 1 (3.27), which explained 65.4% of the variance. MTED demonstrated good construct validity. The MTED total score correlated strongly with the combined items comprising Pleasure, Interest, Sadness, and Sustained attention of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter Well-being Observation Tool (rs = 0.88, p < 0.001).


MTED is a clinically appropriate and psychometrically valid scale to evaluate music therapy engagement in PWDs.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Philip Yap, Associate Professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central, Singapore 768828. Phone: +65-6602-2154. Email:
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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
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