Choral singing and psychological wellbeing: Quantitative and qualitative findings from English choirs in a cross-national survey
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Over 600 choral singers drawn from English choirs completed the WHOQOLBREF questionnaire to measure physical, psychological, social and environmental wellbeing, and a twelve-item 'wellbeing and choral singing scale'. They also provided accounts of the effects of choral singing on quality of life, wellbeing and physical health in response to open questions. High average scores were found on all WHOQOL-BREF scales, and a high degree of consensus emerged on the positive benefits of choral singing. A significant sex difference was found on the choral singing scale, with women endorsing the wellbeing effects of singing more strongly than men. This finding replicates the earlier result reported by Clift & Hancox (2001) in a pilot study with a single choral society. Low correlations were found between the WHOQOLBREF psychological wellbeing scale and perceptions of wellbeing associated with singing. However, examination of written accounts to open questions from participants with relatively low psychological wellbeing and strong perceptions of positive benefits associated with choral singing served to identify four categories of significant personal and health challenges. They also revealed six 'generative mechanisms' by which singing may impact on wellbeing and health.
Journal of Applied Arts and Health