Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Ballroom Dance: Motivation for Physical Participation
Author Affiliations
  • Towson University
  • Towson University
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Prevention and Intervention
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Ballroom Dance: Motivation for Physical Participation
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515230.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515230.

Date Presented 4/18/2015

In this poster, we report findings of a study that describes ballroom dance as serious leisure in relation to successful aging in a sample of 32 older adults. The results of the study provide therapists with suggestions for using dance patterns to promote greater physical activity in older adult populations.

SIGNIFICANCE: The purpose of the study was to describe ballroom dance as serious leisure in relation to successful aging in a sample of 32 community-dwelling older adults. Ballroom dance is an enjoyable physical activity in which couples engage in coordinated movement patterns, including the fox trot, waltz, swing, tango, and Latin dances (Lima & Vieira, 2007). As serious leisure, ballroom dance is a core activity that is so gratifying that participants are motivated to expand their participation. Such gratification can motivate ongoing participation, which can enhance function and overall successful aging (Brown, McGuire, & Voelkl, 2008). This study is significant because it provides understanding of ballroom dance elements that can be used as interventions to promote function. The research question was as follows: What are the volunteers’ ballroom dance and successful aging experiences?
METHOD: The study used a qualitative–quantitative design (Creswell, 2013). A purposive sample of 14 men and 18 women was selected. Participants had danced for more than 10 yr and were taking dance classes. All data were collected in familiar and distraction-free settings. Participants completed the Successful Aging Profile (SAP) and the Dance Serious Leisure Inventory Measure (DSLIM). We used the Dance Interview Guide to collect stories of ballroom dance. We used the DSLIM to measure ballroom dance as serious leisure and the SAP to measure successful aging. Data were collected over 4 wk. All participants completed the quantitative measures; 9 volunteers participated in three 2-hr interviews. Descriptive statistics yielded means for the DSLIM and SAP. Self-reported data may have resulted in inaccurate accounts.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Analyses of interview data revealed two themes: (1) social world of ballroom dance, and (2) dance and aging well. Participants reported serious leisure qualities on the DSLIM (M = 116) and positive successful aging (M = 38). Participants’ ballroom dance experiences reflected qualities of serious leisure in successful aging. Ballroom dance and physical patterns may be used to foster physical function in older adults.
Brown, C. A., McGuire, F. A., & Voelkl, J. (2008). The link between successful aging and serious leisure. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 66, 73–95.
Creswell, J. (2013). Research design. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Lima, M. M. S., & Vieira, A. P. (2007). Ballroom dance as therapy for the elderly in Brazil. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 29, 129–142.
Stebbins, R. A. (2011). The semiotic self and serious leisure. American Sociologist, 42, 238–248.