Art And Culture

Interest in Arts Can Improve Mental Health

Interest in Arts Can Improve Mental HealthInterest in Arts Can Improve Mental Health

In a recent study, a team of researchers from The University of Western Australia have found that participating in the arts for just two hours a week can improve mental health and wellbeing.

As little is known about a link between mental health in the general population and the arts for enjoyment, rather than as a therapy, the team of researchers collected data from 702 Western Australian adults on their interest in the arts for entertainment, enjoyment, or a hobby.

The participants were asked to complete a 15-minute telephone survey about their engagement in the arts, their mental wellbeing, and also their demographics such as sex, age, education level, and income, reported.

In the study, the arts included a range of creative activities and interests such as painting, reading, photography, music, theatre, sculpture and craft. Engagement in these activities could involve an active role, such as making art, or a receptive role, such as attending a concert.

Participants were asked if they had engaged in the arts within the last 12 months, and if yes, to describe their work. They were also asked how much time they had spent engaging in the arts.

Participants were also questioned on their mental health, and responded to statements and questions such as ‘I have been feeling...optimistic, useful, relaxed, good about myself, and I have been...dealing with problems well, thinking clearly, and interested in new things.’

After analyzing the results, researchers found that those who within the last 12 months had engaged in the arts for 100 hours or more, the equivalent of two or more hours/week, reported significantly better mental well-being than those with lower levels of engagement.

The results have led researchers to stress the importance of good mental health and the effects of the arts on this area of wellbeing.

The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.