Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Health benefits of the arts

This English literature review was intended as a summary of “the strength of the evidence base between 2010–13 about the economic, social, health and wellbeing, education, lifelong learning and environmental impacts and outcomes of arts and culture in England”. Based on the 90 reports examined, the literature review found that the “arts and culture play an important role in promoting social and economic goals through local regeneration, attracting tourists, the development of talent and innovation, improving health and wellbeing, and delivering essential services”.

Canadian Evidence regarding the Relationship between the Arts and the Quality of Life, Well-being, Health, Education, Society, and the Economy

This literature review, conducted in May 2014, synthesized the findings of 46 Canadian research articles regarding the “holistic case for the arts, i.e., outcomes of the arts related to the quality of life, well-being, health, society, education, and the economy”. The report concluded that “there are a myriad of potential benefits of the arts”. That being said, the report cautions that “studies of causal links (rather than statistical associations) are very challenging to conduct”.

This brief Scottish report highlighted the statistical relationship between cultural attendance, active participation in culture or sports, and health and life satisfaction based on findings from the 2010/11 Scottish Household Survey, which interviewed nearly 10,000 Scottish adults. The report found that, even after controlling for demographic and other factors, “participation in culture and sport are independently and significantly associated with good health and high life satisfaction”.

A Three Year Exploration of the Relationship between Arts and Health

Based on qualitative and quantitative evaluations, this report examined the relationship between the arts and well-being among 51 Vancouver seniors who participated in the arts in four community centres. The long-term goal of the project was to “contribute to the development of strong, healthy communities that engage seniors as full and active participants and that value the arts as a key contributor to health”.

(2007, 7:226)

Based on a survey of 1,244 American adults, this research article finds that there is “significant association between cultural activities and self-reported health (SRH)”, even controlling for demographic factors.

Connections between Cultural Activities and Health, Volunteering, Satisfaction with Life, and Other Social Indicators in 2010

Based on Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey of 2010, an in-depth telephone survey of about 7,500 Canadians 15 years of age or older, this report examines the connections between cultural activities and eight social indicators. A key finding of the report is that participants in 18 cultural activities have significantly better results than non-participants for 101 out of 144 cross-tabulations with social indicators. Cultural participants have significantly worse results for only 10 of the cross-tabulations.

An International English-Language Literature Review and Inventory of Resources

The literature review in the Creative City Network of Canada series of reports on Developing and Revitalizing Rural Communities through Arts and Creativity examines the nature of cultural activity in rural communities, the community context for arts development, the role of the arts in economic development, and governance strategies.

Presentation at CAPACOA

This presentation highlights findings regarding the broad social impacts of performing arts attendance for individuals. In addition, the presentation provides key data regarding performing arts attendance in 2005 and trends in attendance since 1992.

Social Effects of Culture: Exploratory Statistical Evidence and Detailed Statistical Models

Two recent reports from Hill Strategies Research investigate the social impacts of cultural activities, including book reading. Overall, the reports show that Canadians who read are more likely to be socially active than Canadians who do not read.

Exploratory Statistical Evidence

This recent report investigates the broad social impacts of cultural activities for individuals. It examines the relationship between four cultural activities (reading books, attending live performances, visiting art galleries and attending movie theatres) and social phenomena such as volunteering, donating, neighbourhood connections, sense of belonging and quality of life.