This research was conducted by Melissa K. Weinberg and Dawn Joseph at Deakin University, Australia


This study found that people who dance to music or attend musical events have higher levels of subjective wellbeing compared to people that do not. Singing with others was also found to be associated with higher subjective wellbeing.

The data comes from a nationally representative survey of Australian adults

Participants rated their general life satisfaction and disclosed additional details including satisfaction with standard of living, health, life achievements, community, safety and relationships. The survey did not ask about how frequently people engaged with music or their level of musical talent.

Wellbeing was higher amongst people who danced and sang

People who sang with others had higher scores in all areas of wellbeing compared to those that did not sing. Similarly those who danced with others had higher scores on satisfaction with health, achieving in life, and relationships compared to others that did not dance. Although wellbeing was higher for people who danced and attended music events there were no differences between people who additionally played, composed or listened to music and those that did not. This all suggests that the wellbeing benefits of engaging with music in this way are derived from doing it with others.

Social connections supported by singing and dancing may lead to further impacts on people’s moods

The authors reported higher scores for satisfaction with relationships and community indicating a link between the social connectivity afforded by music and regulating emotions. The theory goes that when people sing and dance with others their mood is improved and they experience more positive emotions. The authors argue that these findings can be used to inform future interventions and better understand how music relates to regulating emotions.

This summary is by Tanya Graham, King’s Knowledge Exchange Associate

Title If you’re happy and you know it: Music engagement and subjective wellbeing
Author(s) Weinberg, M. K. & Joseph, D.
Publication date 2017
Source Psychology of Music, Vol 45, Iss 2
Author email