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:

Making art can help reduce stress

This research was conducted by Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray and Juan Muniz at Drexel University, USA
Summary
A small number of studies have indicated that making art reduces stress. This is the first study to investigate the effects of visual self-expression on stress levels in healthy adults, in a format similar […]

By |13 February 2017|

Using art to develop a workforce

This research was conducted by Simona Karpavičiūtė and Jūratė Macijauskienė at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

Summary
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of silk painting activities on the wellbeing of nursing staff. The results indicate that participation in an arts activity had a positive impact on emotional […]

By |6 February 2017|

Music and audio books can enhance the rehabilitation of stroke patients

This research was conducted by Teppo Särkämö and 12 others from University of Helsinki and universities and research facilities in Finland and Canada
Summary
This study explored the impact of listening to different audio stimuli on patients who had suffered from stroke caused by rupture of a major artery in the […]

By |2 February 2017|

Music training can help children cope with stress

This research was conducted by Ingo Roden, Florian D. Zepf, Gunter Kreutz, Dietmar Grube and Stephan Bongard at Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg and two other universities in Germany and Australia
Summary
This study attempted to understand how different interventions might reduce the aggressive behaviour of children. A group of primary […]

By |26 January 2017|

How much arts engagement is needed to enhance wellbeing?

This research was conducted by Christina Davies, Matthew Knuiman and Michael Rosenberg at the University of Western Australia
Summary
Many clinical studies have shown arts-based therapies to reduce anxiety and depression and improve quality of life. This study sought to examine the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental wellbeing in […]

By |23 January 2017|

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|