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The Effectiveness of a Handicraft Intervention in Improving Depressive Tendencies in Middle-Aged Women Volume 51- Issue 2

Masayo Ayukawa1* and Jungetsu Sei2

  • 1Matsumoto College of Nursing, Japan
  • 2Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Gifu University of Medical Science, Japan

Received: June 24, 2023;   Published: July 03, 2023

*Corresponding author: Masayo Ayukawa, Matsumoto College of Nursing, Japan

DOI: 10.26717/BJSTR.2023.51.008092

Abstract PDF


Enjoying handicrafts as a hobby has been reported to be effective in improving wellbeing. However, no quantitative study investigating the relations between handicraft and physical mental health found. A oneyear pre- and post-intervention study of a handicrafts program was conducted.

Keywords: Handicrafts; Depressive Tendencies; Health; QOL; Well-being; Quilting Bee; GDS(Geriatric Depression Scale)


Leisure activities have positive impacts on elderlies’ mental health. Previous studies reported enjoying creative handicrafts as hobby was one effective mean for well-being improvement [1-3]. However, no quantitative study investigating the relations between handicraft and physical/mental health found. In other countries, group quilt making (quilting bee), which has been reported to be effective in preventing dementia since the 1980s, has been conducted [2].In particular, in the U.S., quilts have historically been made in groups that are considered to be useful for group dynamics.Therefore, we are planning to develop a program (quilting bee) that incorporates handicrafts into a community support program and functions as a place for the formation of a community social network as a preventive measure against dementia and depression among female elderly people. This study is to investigate how handicrafts influences on QOL improvement and depressive tendency.


We investigated through 1year handicrafts programs with participants in Hiroshima’s cooperative “K city Hureai-Hiroba” and “H city club for the aged”. We conducted self-administered questionnaire to 65participants at baseline(T1) and 1-year later(T2). Questions included basic attributes, favorite activity, related information/purpose of quilting, quilting’s effects such as a fulfillment and dysphoria scale GDS (Geriatric Depression Scale). Grand-total is used for life satisfaction, purpose of quilting and effects to QOL improvement, and t-test for relations between quilting and depressive tendency. Moreover, multiple regression analysis was conducted with GDS score as dependent variable and all with significant difference in t-test as independent variables (figure 1). Software SPSS Version 20 was used for all statistics/analysis. The study were conducted upon approval by Ethical Review Board of Hiroshima Bunka Gakuen University (Table 1&2).

Figure 1 Percentage of depression* at baseline and after intervention


Table 1: Characteristics of participants.


Table 2: Mean scores of GDS at baseline and after intervention.



1. Subjects’ average age was 70.4 years-old, and approximately 70% were 65years-old or higher. 46% answered healthy, and 50% answered had at least one disease. The highest for favorite activity was sports with 32.2%, followed by walking, 21.5%, gardening, reading and handicrafts, 9-12%. Baseline depressive tendency had significant association with self-rated health, but not with age, favorite activity or presence of disease.

2. Average GDS score at 1year later(3.35±1.9) was significantly down from baseline(5.12±2.9).

3. Depressive tendency proportion reduced by 24.6% to 23.1% 1 years later from 47.7% at baseline. Significant reduction saw in proportion of depressive tendency presence per self-rated health at baseline.


Creative handicrafts intervention indicates possibility of effectiveness in depressive tendency prevention/improvement in middle- aged. It is important for middle-aged and elderly people to continue to lead independent daily lives without assistance, and it is necessary to prevent the decline of physical and cognitive functions necessary for this. We suggest that you enjoy doing your favorite handicrafts every day for a long time without any difficulty.


This work was supported by MEXT KAKENHI Grant Number 25463615.

Conflict of Interest

No financial interests or conflicts of interest.


  1. Kelly Lambert (2010) Lifting Depression: A Neuroscientist's Hands-On Approach to Activating Your Brain's Healing Power. Basic Books, pp.404
  2. Marsha MacDowell, Clare Luz, Beth Donaldson (2018) Quilts and Health. ‎ Indiana University Press Illustrated edition.
  3. Emily L Burt , Jacqueline Atkinson (2011) The relationship between quilting and wellbeing. Journal of Public Health 34(1): 54-59.