'To be heard': The social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults

Dingle, Genevieve A., Brander, Christopher, Ballantyne, Julie and Baker, Felicity A. (2013) 'To be heard': The social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults. Psychology of Music, 41 4: 405-421. doi:10.1177/0305735611430081

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Author Dingle, Genevieve A.
Brander, Christopher
Ballantyne, Julie
Baker, Felicity A.
Title 'To be heard': The social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults
Journal name Psychology of Music   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-7356
Publication date 2013-07-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0305735611430081
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 41
Issue 4
Start page 405
End page 421
Total pages 17
Place of publication London, U.K.
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Compared with other members of the general population, adults living with a chronic mental illness or disability tend to participate less frequently in occupational and social interactions. This may exacerbate problems such as emotional flattening and social isolation. Supported activities like choir singing present an opportunity for meaningful activity and social connectedness for these individuals. The aim of this study was to explore the personal experiences of choir members (89% of whom experienced chronic mental health problems, 28% physical disabilities and 11% intellectual disability) in relation to their wellbeing using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 21 members of the choir at three time points in the choir’s inaugural year: at the inception of the choir, after six months, and after 12 months. Three content themes emerged: (1) personal impact (positive emotions, emotional regulation, spiritual experience, self-perception, finding a voice); (2) social impact (connectedness within the choir, connection with audience, social functioning); and (3) functional outcomes (health benefits, employment capacity, and routine). A fourth theme of time was also apparent in the data. Results of this study were consistent with the social identity theory notion that forming a new and valued group identity (as a choir member) was associated with emotional and health benefits for the participants.
Keyword Choir singing
Mental health
Social inclusion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print: 8 February 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Music Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 34 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 10 Feb 2012, 06:58:45 EST by Dr Felicity Baker on behalf of School of Psychology