Article Text

Original research
Dance for people with chronic respiratory disease: a qualitative study
  1. Keir Elmslie James Philip1,2,
  2. Adam Lewis3,
  3. Sian Williams1,
  4. Sara Catherine Buttery1,
  5. Michael I Polkey1,2,
  6. William Man2,
  7. Daisy Fancourt4,
  8. Nicholas S Hopkinson1,2
  1. 1National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK
  4. 4Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Keir Elmslie James Philip; k.philip{at}


Objectives To explore the experiences and perceived impact on health and well-being related to participation in a dance group for people with chronic respiratory disease (CRD).

Design An exploratory qualitative study using thematic analysis of semistructured interviews.

Setting A community dance group in a UK health centre.

Participants Convenience sample of long-term dance group participants.

Intervention Weekly community dance sessions designed for people with breathlessness, lasting 75 min, led by a trained community dance leader.

Results Convenience sample of eight participants, six females, aged 57–87 years (mean 75), with a median 2-year attendance at weekly dance sessions. Long-term attendance was driven by strongly held beliefs regarding the health and well-being benefits of participation. Four key themes were identified: dance as (1) a holistically beneficial activity, with physical and psychosocial health benefits including improved or maintained physical fitness and psychological well-being, and reduced need for healthcare; (2) an integral part of their life; (3) an enjoyable activity; and (4) a source of deep social cohesion.

Conclusions Dance group participants perceived a broad range of health benefits of relevance to the biopsychosocial impacts of their respiratory disease. The themes identified are useful in the ongoing planning and evaluation of dance as a holistic complex intervention for people with CRD. Further research is required to assess the extent of health impacts identified, and how dance might be most effectively placed as an option in the management of CRD.

Trial registration number NCT04006015.

  • adult thoracic medicine
  • chronic airways disease
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • complementary medicine

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  • Twitter @keirphilip, @apl104, @SaraButtery

  • Contributors KEJP had the original idea for the study, led the study including design and ethical approval, and conducted and transcribed the interviews. KEJP and AL conducted the analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SW helped develop the study concept and focus, the content of the topic guide, and reviewed and suggested improvements to manuscript drafts. SCB, MIP, WM, DF and NSH provided valuable input in developing the methodological approach, developing the protocol and gaining ethical approval. All authors (KEJP, AL, SW, SCB, MIP, WM, DF, NSH) contributed to the study design, writing, reviewing and editing the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript for submission.

  • Funding KEJP was supported by the Imperial College Clinician Investigator Scholarship. DF was supported by the Wellcome Trust (205407/Z/16/Z).

  • Disclaimer The funders had no say in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests SW is the founder of the dance group and leads the sessions. She was not involved in the thematic analysis.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by the Office for Research Ethics Committees Northern Ireland (ORECNI) (19/NI/0073).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. Data from this study are not being made available for sharing as it would not be possible to anonymise the interview transcripts given the personal content included and the very limited number of dance groups for respiratory conditions in London.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.