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:

The many benefits of group drumming for mental health service users

This research was conducted by Daisy Fancourt and five other researchers at the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London, UK

Summary

The researchers note that while growing numbers of mental health organisations are developing community music-making interventions for service users, there has been little research into their efficacy. They ...

By | 25 July 2016 |

The effect of choral singing on wellbeing

This research was conducted by Nick Alan Joseph Stewart and Adam Jonathan Lonsdale at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Brookes University, UK

Summary

This paper looks at whether singing in a choir leads to greater psychological wellbeing compared to team sports and solo singing. The authors recruited 375 participants ...

By | 18 July 2016 |

Concert attendance reduces stress and improves immune function

This research was conducted by Daisy Fancourt and Aaron Williamon at the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London

Summary

This study was the first to investigate the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing by assessing the effects of attending a live, public concert on hormonal responses. The ...

By | 7 July 2016 |

Music listening enhances recovery and mood after stroke

This research was conducted by Teppo Särkämö and 11 others from universities in Finland and Canada

Summary

A group of patients who had suffered arterial stroke had improved cognitive abilities and better mood after listening to music compared to patients who listened to audio books or did not listen to any ...

By | 27 June 2016 |

Music activities benefit dementia patients and their carers

This research was conducted by Teppo Särkämö and six others at universities in Finland and the USA

Summary

Dementia is increasing worldwide, and with it the demand for low-cost and effective interventions to address both the symptoms and the reduced quality of life associated with the condition. This Finnish study showed ...

By | 13 June 2016 |

Group singing improves the mental health of older adults

This research was conducted by Simon Coulton, Stephen Clift, Ann Skingley and John Rodriguez at the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and NHS Kent and Medway, UK

Summary

Older adults who took part in a community singing group had significantly improved scores in aspects of mental health compared to ...

By | 18 February 2016 |

Music reduces stress during medical procedures

This research was conducted by N. Schneider, M. Schedlowski, T. H. Schürmeyer and H. Becke at Hannover Medical School, Germany

Summary

Hospital tests and treatments can be extremely stressful for patients, which can lead to pain, medical complications and unreliable test results. Tests used to diagnose serious medical conditions often involve ...

By | 28 January 2016 |

Choral singing can help people living with aphasia

This research was conducted by Jeanette Tamplin and four others at the University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Monash University, Australia

Summary

Group singing has been shown to have a beneficial impact on mood and sociability in a diverse range of therapeutic contexts, with positive outcomes for stress reduction, confidence ...

By | 18 January 2016 |

Using culture in local development to increase wellbeing

This research was conducted by Annie Tubadji, Brian J. Osoba and Peter Nijkamp at the University of the Aegean, Greece, Central Connecticut State University, USA and VU University, The Netherlands

Summary

This paper explored the link between culture and regional development the US. The study aimed to expand the ‘culture-based development ...

By | 11 January 2016 |

Dance raises your pain threshold and aids social bonding

This research was conducted by Bronwyn Tarr, Jacques Launay, Emma Cohen and Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford, UK

Summary

Dance is a common cultural activity in which participants exert themselves in synchrony with music and with one another. Dancing is thought to help in the building of social bonds ...

By | 7 January 2016 |