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Benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing: qualitative findings from a cross‐national survey of choir members

Laetitia Livesey (Clinical Psychologist at Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust, Hellingly, UK)
Ian Morrison (Senior Researcher at Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Folkestone, UK)
Stephen Clift (Professor of Health Education and Research Director at Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Folkestone, UK)
Paul Camic (Professor of Psychology and Research Director in the Department of Applied Psychology – Salomons, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 16 March 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to explore the benefits of choral singing for mental wellbeing and health as perceived by a cross‐national sample of amateur choral singers.

Design/methodology/approach

Data consisted of written responses to open‐ended questions. These were derived from 169 participants selected from a larger dataset reporting high and low levels of emotional wellbeing on the WHOQOL‐BREF questionnaire. A majority of participants were female and aged over 50. A thematic analysis was followed by a content analysis and Pearson chi square analyses. Comparisons were made between different ages, genders and nationalities and participants with high and low reported emotional wellbeing.

Findings

The analysis revealed multiple themes covering perceived benefits in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains. There were no significant differences in frequency of themes across any of the participant sociodemographic and wellbeing categories. The results indicate that benefits of singing may be experienced similarly irrespective of age, gender, nationality or wellbeing status.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for further research include future use of validated instruments to measure outcomes and research into the benefits of singing in other cultures. The results of this study suggest that choral singing could be used to promote mental health and treat mental illness.

Originality/value

This study examines a cross‐national sample which is larger than previous studies in this area. These findings contribute to understanding of the complex and interacting factors which might contribute to wellbeing and health, as well as specific benefits of singing.

Keywords

Citation

Livesey, L., Morrison, I., Clift, S. and Camic, P. (2012), "Benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing: qualitative findings from a cross‐national survey of choir members", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 10-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465721211207275

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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