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Effects of Choir Singing on Mental Health: Results of an Online Cross-sectional Study

      Summary

      Objectives

      The study aims to quantify the impact of sociodemographic, personal, and choir-related characteristics on perceived singing well-being and mental health changes due to singing.

      Study Design

      847 German adult choristers (233m, 614f, age 18-86 years) were interviewed in a cross-sectional online questionnaire study that included questions on singing well-being, vocal and choral characteristics, the adapted versions of the Bochum change questionnaire (BCQ2000), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-09), and the WHO-5 well-being index.

      Methods

      Multiple regression models were calculated with singing related well-being or mental health changes as dependent variables and individual and choir-related characteristics as factors. Predictors of mental health benefits were analyzed in gender subgroups and in persons with a low or normal/high score on the WHO-5.

      Results

      On average, participants rated the impact of singing on well-being and mental health changes positively. Subgroup analysis revealed smaller but significant positive mental health effects in men compared to women and in persons with a low WHO-5 score compared to those with a normal/high score. Education level and relationship status were not significantly related to subjects’ perceptions of mental health benefits, whereas singing well-being increased with age in women and in participants with a low WHO-5 score. Larger improvements in mental health came along with longer choir membership, more singing hours per week, and a high engagement in choral activity. Significant positive associations of well-being with optimal singing behavior and vocal warm-ups were observed.

      Conclusion

      Results suggest that singers of all ages, genders, and educational backgrounds perceive the choral experience as beneficial to their well-being and mental health. Positive effects are related to WHO-5 scores, engagement in choral activity, and optimal singing conditions. On average, women rate singing benefits higher than men and singers with preexisting vocal pathologies or low WHO-5 benefit slightly less.

      Key Words

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