The Efficacy of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) for People with Mild-to-Moderate Dementia: A Review

Alessandra Lobbia, Elena Carbone, Silvia Faggian, Simona Gardini, Federica Piras, Aimee Spector, Erika Borella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is an internationally used, evidence-based psychosocial intervention for people with mild-to-moderate dementia. The present review thus aimed specifically to examine the reliability of the findings and the strength of the evidence obtained in studies on the CST protocol concerning any benefit in terms of cognitive functioning, perceived quality of life, psychological, behavioral, and everyday life functioning of people with dementia, and their family caregivers' health status, quality of life, and burden of care. A systematic literature search on studies specifically adopting the CST protocol in patients with mild-to-moderate DSM-IV dementia - eventually involving their family members - was performed. A total of 238 papers were screened and 12 finally included in the qualitative analysis after inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied. The Jadad Scale and the Stroke Prevention and Educational Awareness Diffusion (SPREAD) method were used to appraise the studies' methodological quality. Moderate levels of evidence emerged for general cognitive functioning, language comprehension and production, and quality of life. The levels of evidence were weaker for short-term memory, orientation, praxis, depression, social and emotional loneliness, behavior, and communication in people with dementia, and for their caregivers' health status and anxiety symptoms. Albeit with the limited quality of reviewed evidence, and the need for more studies on CST, the present review highlights the value of this program as part of dementia care services to sustain the cognitive functioning and quality of life of people with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • cognitive functioning
  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
  • dementia
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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