Study: Singing improves mental health
Published on 21 August 2012 11:30 AM
Singing is a cost-effective way for older people to stay mentally healthy, according to the results of new research.
A two-year study by researchers at Canterbury Christ Church University looked at people over the age of 60 taking part in singing groups and the impact it has on their mental health.
It took two sample groups of 240 volunteers, one of which took part in singing sessions with a local community group every week over a three-month period while the other did not.
The findings show that those from the singing group improved their mental health scores on a validated health measure. They also significantly reduced their anxiety and depression scores on a separate, widely-used NHS measure.
The singing group also improved their quality of life scores on a scale recognised by the National Institution of Clinical Excellence (NICE), which measures how cost-effective health interventions are.
Director of research at the university's Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Professor Stephen Clift, said: 'Our research has not only cemented previous studies that pointed to an increase in health benefits from community singing programmes, but also demonstrated that singing programmes are a cost-effective method of health promotion against NHS measures for this group of people.
'The design of the study has enabled us to put a value on the results which could ultimately result in substantial cost savings for the NHS and local authority adult services.'
The study was the world's first randomised controlled trial into the health benefits of community singing.
Copyright Press Association 2012