The effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia

Susan E. Hickman, Ann Louise Barrick, Christianna S. Williams, Sheryl Zimmerman, Bettye Rose Connell, John S. Preisser, C. Madeline Mitchell, Philip D. Sloane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia. DESIGN: A cluster-unit crossover intervention trial involving four lighting conditions: morning bright light, evening bright light, all-day bright light, and standard light. SETTING: The common areas of two geriatric units in a state-operated psychiatric hospital in North Carolina and in a dementia-specific residential care facility in Oregon. PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-six older adults with dementia. INTERVENTION: Ambient bright light therapy was delivered through a high-intensity, low-glare lighting system installed in the public areas of study units at both sites. Each lighting condition was provided for multiple 3-week periods in a predetermined sequence. MEASUREMENTS: Staff caregivers completed the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) in the last week of each 3-week period to provide information about participants' moods. RESULTS: Analysis indicated a sex-by-treatment interaction (P=.008). Significant sex differences were found in CSDD scores in response to evening light (P=.003), all-day light (P=.001), and standard light (P≤.001). Depressive symptoms were lowest for women and highest for men during morning light. CONCLUSION: Findings do not support the use of ambient bright light therapy as a treatment for depressive symptoms in persons with dementia, although a subpopulation of persons with dementia may benefit from this intervention. It is likely that individual rather than unit-level interventions are a more effective strategy for delivering bright light therapy for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1817-1824
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume55
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

Keywords

  • Assisted living
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Nursing homes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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    Hickman, S. E., Barrick, A. L., Williams, C. S., Zimmerman, S., Connell, B. R., Preisser, J. S., Madeline Mitchell, C., & Sloane, P. D. (2007). The effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55(11), 1817-1824. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01428.x