A New Report Links Participation in Arts and Culture to Longer, Healthier Lives

Most research available looks at the short-term impacts, however, by using data from cohort studies that have been tracking large numbers of people throughout their lives, this report gives an insight into the long-term impacts.

The Social Biobehavioural Research Group at UCL, examined evidence from over 320,000 participants across the world revealing new insights into how engagement with arts and culture is linked to a long and healthy life.  These include more positive health and social behaviours in children and young people, better mental health in adulthood, lower risks of depression and dementia in later life and lover levels of chronic pain and fragility and even longer lives. It also found that these positive relationships hold even when factors such as demographics, socio-economic position, medical history and past arts engagement are taken into account.

Understanding the longer-term findings, not only make for interesting reading, and may help influence policymakers, healthcare professionals and arts practitioners to take the chance to reimagine how arts and culture can play a role in the prevention, treatment and managing illness.

Dr Daisy Fancourt, Associate Professor of Psychobiology and Epidemiology, Head of Social Biobehavioural Research Group says: “What we’ve found is that the arts have a unique and important role to play throughout our lives, helping us to stay well and live longer. But we also know that access to cultural experiences is unequal and not everyone is benefiting as they should. We therefore urge policymakers, funders, health and cultural organisations to consider how they are supporting more equitable, high-quality arts engagement for everyone as a pillar of public health.”

The Social Biobehavioural Research Group at UCL has published over 70 academic papers linking arts and culture engagement to people’s health and wellbeing since 2017.

The full report, and four short policy briefings, can be found here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.