A recent study has explored the association with attending cultural activities and good health, satisfaction, low anxiety, and depression. While this applies to both genders, the study found a stronger association with males. Men who participated in receptive cultural activities (i.e. going to museums, attending a musical or play) were also much more likely to be happy and healthy.
Among other things, the study looked at the impact of what they deemed “receptive cultural activities” (basically, an observer of art) and “creative cultural activities” (a participant in the creation of art). The study found a strong association with both types and good overall health. The study collected data from over 50,000 people living in central Norway.
Some interesting things to note from the study:
- Women who attended church and sporting events were more satisfied with their lives.
- Women who attended sporting events also perceived themselves as being more healthy.
- Men said they were healthier when they volunteered, exercised, and participated in outdoor activities.
- A variety of cultural activities (artistic, musical, theatrical) were also associated with good health in men.
- The more activities the individual participated in, the happier they were.
Background: Cultural participation has been used both in governmental health policies and as medical therapy, based on the assumption that cultural activities will improve health. Previous population studies and a human intervention study have shown that religious, social and cultural activities predict increased survival rate. The aim of this study was to analyse the association between cultural activity and perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life in both genders.
Results: The logistic regression models, adjusted for relevant cofactors, show that participation in receptive and creative cultural activities was significantly associated with good health, good satisfaction with life, low anxiety and depression scores in both genders. Especially in men, attending receptive, rather than creative, cultural activities was more strongly associated with all health-related outcomes. Statistically significant associations between several single receptive, creative cultural activities and the health-related outcome variables were revealed.
Conclusion: This population-based study suggests gender-dependent associations between cultural participation and perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life. The results support hypotheses on the effect of cultural activities in health promotion and healthcare, but further longitudinal and experimental studies are warranted to establish a reliable cause–effect relationship.