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:

Treating dementia using arts interventions

This research was conducted by Kate de Medeiros and Anne Basting at Miami University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.
Summary
Effective care for people with dementia is made more challenging by a lack of effective treatments for the condition. Arts interventions are becoming more popular due to their ability to effect […]

By |20 July 2017|

Managing dementia through object handing in museums

This research was conducted by Paul M. Camic, Sabina Hulbert and Jeremy Kimmel at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
Summary
The importance of subjective health and wellbeing for individuals with dementia is often overlooked in favour of a highly medicalised approach to care. Dementia management presents a significant societal challenge worldwide. […]

By |13 July 2017|

Frequent attendance at cultural events associated with reduced cancer mortality

This research was conducted by Lars Olov Bygren and five others at Universities in Sweden, Norway and the USA.
Summary
This paper describes a long-term study looking at correlations between taking part in certain cultural activities and cancer mortality. In general, people in urban areas who frequently attended cultural events (cinemas, theatre, […]

By |10 July 2017|

The benefits of arts engagement for people experiencing mental health issues

This research was conducted by Sue Hacking, Jenny Secker, Helen Spandler, Lyn Kent and Jo Shenton at the University of Central Lancashire and Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
Summary
This paper looked at arts participation among people with mental health needs. It reports improvement in levels of empowerment with promising effects on […]

By |29 June 2017|

Singing and dancing in groups is associated with increased wellbeing

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

By |22 June 2017|

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|