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 arts may improve health, wellbeing and vitality

This research was conducted by Lars Olov Bygren and seven others at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and elsewhere

Summary

The paper reports the results of an experiment in which 101 people were randomly assigned to either engage in an arts experience or do nothing artistic at all. The types of ...

By | 14 April 2014 |

Music can be used as a way for people to control their mood and environment

This research was conducted by Kari Batt-Rawden at the Eastern Norway Research Institute, Norway

Summary

The research asked people with long-term illnesses in Norway the role and significance that music played in their lives, and how they used music for specific health and wellbeing purposes. Although cautious of drawing conclusions from ...

By | 14 April 2014 |

Singing can help the immune system and improve mood

This research was conducted by Gunter Kreutz, Stephan Bongard, Sonja Rohrmann, Volker Hodapp, and Dorothee Grebe at Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany [Now at the University of Oldenburg, Germany]

Summary

The research compared the levels of immunoglobulin A (S-IgA), cortisol and emotional states of people after they had participated in ...

By | 14 April 2014 |

Theatre training can improve cognitive function and psychological wellbeing of older people

This research was conducted by Helga Noice, Tony Noice and Graham Staines at Elmhurst College, Indiana State University and National Development and Research Institutes, USA

Summary

This paper reports an experiment to investigate the benefits of an acting programme on the cognitive functioning and quality of life for elderly people in ...

By | 10 April 2014 |

Theatre and performance can improve the social skills of 'at-risk' youth

This research was conducted by Robin Wright, Lindsay John, Ramona Alaggia, and Julia Sheel at McGill University and the University of Toronto, Canada [Now at the University of Windsor, Canada]

Summary

The paper reports the results of a substantial evaluation of a national arts education programme in Canada. The results suggest ...

By | 10 April 2014 |

Singing can sustain psychological wellbeing

This research was conducted by Stephen Clift and Grenville Hancox at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

Summary

This paper reports the results of a study of 1124 choral singers from Australia, Germany and England. The choirs varied greatly in character, make-up and repertoire. The study asked about people’s singing experiences ...

By | 11 March 2014 |

Arts engagement has a positive effect on quality of life

This research was conducted by Alex C. Michalos and P. Maurine Kahlke at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Summary

This paper reports the findings of a large-scale survey that was designed specifically to measure the impact of arts engagement on the quality of life of the population of British ...

By | 11 March 2014 |

Art therapy improves stroke victims' quality of life

This research was conducted by Kerry Beesley, Jennifer Helen White, Megan K. Alston, Anne L. Sweetapple and Michael Pollack at the Hunter New England Local Health Network and Area Health Service, Australia

Summary

This paper presents the results of a series of interviews conducted with people in New South Wales, Australia ...

By | 11 March 2014 |

Art therapy makes dementia patients more alert and engaged

This research was conducted by Jennifer Rusted, Linda Sheppard and Diane Waller at the University of Sussex, the University of Sheffield and Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

Summary

This paper reports an experiment designed to test the effectiveness of art therapy on older people with dementia. The study took place ...

By | 11 December 2013 |

People who frequently attend cultural events tend to live longer

This research was conducted by Lars Olov Bygren, Boinkum Benson Konlaan and Sven-Erik Johansson at the University of Umea, Sweden and the Swedish Central Bureau of Statistics

Summary

By looking at a survey of people over a 10 year period the researchers were able to assess the impact of cultural engagement ...

By | 9 December 2013 |