Social Effects of Culture: Detailed Statistical Models

Break out of your daily routine! Take in the arts...

This report provides strong evidence of the social effects of culture through detailed statistical models of six social indicators: Feeling trapped in a daily routine; Volunteering; Donating; Doing a favour for a neighbour; Sense of belonging to one's province; and Sense of belonging to Canada. Building on a previous report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series, the statistical models in this report examine whether cultural activities have an impact on social indicators above and beyond demographic information.

Among the cultural activities, visits to public art galleries or historic sites each have a positive impact on five of the six social behaviours, while visits to conservation areas or parks and theatre attendance each have a positive impact on four social behaviours. Book reading, newspaper reading and attendance at a performance of cultural/heritage music, theatre or dance (e.g. Aboriginal Peoples, Chinese, Ukrainian) each have a positive impact on three of the social indicators. (All of these statistics relate to the models that held all other factors constant.)

A potential slogan arising from the research is: Break out of your daily routine! Visit a public art gallery, take in a performance or read a book. Some of the findings that provide strong evidence of a relationship between cultural activities and positive social engagement are:

  • For nine of the 11 cultural activities examined in this report, the percentage of cultural participants feeling trapped in a daily routine is lower than for non-participants. Four cultural activities, classical music attendance, art gallery visits, theatre attendance and book reading, are significant factors in lowering the probability of feeling trapped in a daily routine.
  • For all 11 cultural activities, the volunteer rate among participants is higher than for non-participants. Ten of the 11 cultural activities are statistically significant predictors of volunteering, even taking key demographic factors into account. The cultural activities with the strongest impacts on volunteering are historic site visits, classical music attendance, theatre attendance and festival attendance.
  • For all 11 cultural activities, the donation rate is higher for cultural participants than non-participants. A statistical model indicates that six cultural activities are significant positive factors in donating, even after adjusting for the impacts of other demographic and cultural factors in the model. The cultural activities with the strongest impacts on donating are historic site visits, newspaper reading, visits to conservation areas or parks and book reading.
  • For all 11 cultural activities, the percentage of cultural participants doing a favour for a neighbour in the past month is higher than for non-participants. Six cultural activities are significant positive factors in predicting doing a favour for a neighbour, even after adjusting for the impacts of other demographic and cultural factors in the model. The cultural activities with the strongest impacts on doing a favour for a neighbour are newspaper reading, visits to conservation areas or parks, attending cultural/heritage performances, as well as art gallery visits.
  • For five of the 11 cultural activities, the percentage of cultural participants with a strong sense of belonging to one's province is higher than for non-participants. A statistical model indicates that art gallery and historic site visits are significant positive factors on sense of belonging to their province, even after adjusting for the impacts of other demographic and cultural factors in the model.
  • For eight of the 11 cultural activities, the percentage of cultural participants with a strong sense of belonging to Canada is higher than for non-participants. A statistical model indicates that four cultural activities, historic site visits, newspaper reading, visits to conservation areas or parks and book reading, are significant positive factors on one's sense of belonging to Canada.
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