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:

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 ...

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 ...

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 |

The health benefits of an arts project for older offenders

This research was conducted by Dean J. Wilkinson at the University of Worcester and Laura S. Caulfield at Bath Spa University

Summary

Prisoners over the age of 50 are known to experience high rates of physical and mental illnesses, meaning their specific support and rehabilitation needs are often neglected within current ...

By | 22 February 2018 |

Prolonged arts education reduces stress in children from low-income households

This research was conducted by Eleanor D. Brown, Mallory L. Garnett, and Kate E. Anderson at West Chester University and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau at the University of Delaware, USA.

Summary

Children growing up in deprived households are known to experience higher levels of physiological stress, which in turn results in a range ...

By | 19 February 2018 |

Long-term improvements in wellbeing and social inclusion through art for people with mental health difficulties

This research was conducted by Ceri Wilson, Jenny Secker and Lyn Kent at Anglia Ruskin University and Jo Keay at Open Arts Essex.

Summary

This study explored whether improvement in wellbeing and social inclusion through the arts is maintained long-term for those experiencing (or at risk of) mental health problems. At ...

By | 8 February 2018 |