Health and wellbeing impacts of arts and culture

This section contains research looking into the ways in which cultural engagement benefits people's physical health and psychological wellbeing. There is a relatively strong evidence base for the therapeutic benefits of cultural engagement, whether that takes place within a clinical setting, or more generally in one's daily life. The studies translated here describe experiments within hospitals and other clinical settings, as well as research looking at population-wide data sets.

You can find out more about this area of research from places such as the Sidney DeHaan Research Centre for Music Arts and Health, the Arts Health and Wellbeing Research Programme, and the National Alliance for Arts Health and Wellbeing.

The summaries in this category are:

Help prevent depression in old age by staying culturally active

This research was conducted by Daisy Fancourt and Urszula Tymoszuk at University College London.

Summary

This paper explored whether cultural attendance by older adults is associated with a reduced risk of developing depression. The paper considered attendance to comprise visits to the theatre, concerts or opera, the cinema and art galleries …

Using the arts to enhance communication in dementia care

This research was conducted by Gill Windle and six others at Bangor University and four other institutions.

Summary

This paper examined the results of four sessions of ‘Creative Conversations’: an arts-based intervention for care staff development. The 'Conversations' improved staff skills and confidence, enabling meaningful interactions that were ‘creative, ‘in the …

The effect of music and movement on mother-infant interactions

This research was conducted by Wendy Vlismas, Stephen Malloch and Denis Burnham at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.

Summary:

In this work, a group of researchers investigated the effects of music and movement (M&M) on the interactions between first time mothers and their 2–6-month-old infants. They also evaluated the …

The effects of music listening at different life stages

This research was conducted by Jenny M. Groarke and Michael J. Hogan at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Summary

This study sought to determine how mood enhancement and other positive effects of music listening interact to support wellbeing, and how these factors differed between younger and older people. Mood regulation …

Dance can improve quality of life for those with Parkinson’s Disease

This research was conducted by Alice Davies and Ian Patrick Noonan at King’s College London.

Summary

Parkinson’s Disease frequently impacts the balance and gait of sufferers and participation in dance programmes has been shown to generate improvements in patients. This article consolidates the existing literature on the topic. It …

Understanding the relationship between happiness and arts attendance

This research was conducted by Chris Hand at Kingston University.

Summary

This research took data from two years of the Taking Part survey (2012-2013) and compared people’s happiness levels with their arts attendance. The research was therefore based on a data set of more than 7,000 people. Overall there …

A ballet-based dance intervention for people with Parkinson’s

This research was conducted by Ashley McGill, Sara Houston and Raymond Y.W. Lee at the University of Roehampton and the University of Portsmouth.

Summary

Parkinson’s disease is characterised by loss of balance and stability, which can have a two-way detrimental impact on an individual’s quality of life by …

By | 21 August 2018 |

Your brain on music

This research was conducted by Ping Huang, Hanhua Huang, Qiuling Luo, and Lei Mo at South China Normal University

Summary

Philosophers and scientists have long been trying to understand what happens in our heads when we listen to music. This study took a group of 18 volunteers in China and put …

By | 21 August 2018 |

Attendance at cultural events associated with longevity

This research was conducted by Boinkum B Konlaan, Lars O Bygren and Sven-Erik Johansson at the University of Umeå and Department of Welfare and Social Statistics, Sweden.

Summary

Previous research has shown that attendance at cultural events is associated with a longer life expectancy. This study aimed to determine whether specific …

By | 3 August 2018 |

The relationship between subjective wellbeing and engagement in arts, culture and sport

This research was conducted by Daniel Wheatley at the University of Birmingham and Craig Bickerton at Nottingham Trent University

Summary

This study explored the relationship between an individual’s self-assessment of their overall wellbeing and taking part in arts, cultural and sporting activities. Social survey data from 40,000 UK households …

By | 22 March 2018 |