Effects of the original zentangle method on older adults with depressive symptoms a randomized waitlist-controlled trial

Henri Chun Yiu Chan, Herman Hay Ming Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Depressive symptoms are common among older adults and many of them did not seek for professional help. Although Zentangle has been widely implemented in service centers for older adults in many societies, very limited empirical study has been conducted on the effects of this method. This study aims to evaluate the effects of Zentangle on community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms. Methods: A randomised waitlist-controlled trial of Zentangle was conducted. Forty-six community-dwelling older adults with mild to moderate depression were recruited and randomly assigned to a six session Zentangle group or a waitlist control group. The effects were examined by comparing the participants who received a six-week Zentangle intervention with those in the waitlist control group. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Self-compassion Scale – Short form (SCS-SF) and other mental health outcomes were assessed at baseline, post-intervention and six-week follow-up. Results: Repeated measure ANOVA revealed significant Time x Group effects for depression (F (2, 88) = 21.29, p < .001) and self-compassion (F (2, 88) = 18.50, p < .001) with a large net effect size. Six-week follow-up indicated that such improvements were sustained. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary support that the Zentangle programme is an effective alternative treatment approach for older adults with mild to moderate depression. The original Zentangle method can reduce depressive symptoms and cultivate self-compassion. Further research is necessary to expand our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of how the original Zentangle method works. Trial registration: ISRCTN66410347.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • Late-life Depression
  • Self-compassion
  • Older adults
  • Zentangle
  • Randomised Waitlist Controlled Trial


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