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Engagement in arts or sports linked with greater well-being, Scottish report shows

Dunedin Dance Festival 2009_8264Okay, so I'm biased in flagging a study showing that participation in cultural events is linked with self-reported good health and life satisfaction. Perhaps Scotland is, too, given that the Scottish government-commissioned study was released the day that tickets go on sale for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as BBC News notes.

It's not surprising that people who have the means to take dancing lessons or read for pleasure might also have access to fresh food, decent medical care, and other factors positively affecting health. But what's striking about the data, drawn from the Scottish Household Survey 2011, is that the correlation between engagement in culture and perceived well-being was found across variables such as age, income, education and disability status among the 9,683 adults surveyed on this topic.

BBC News reports key findings of the study:

  • Those who attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60% more likely to report good health than those who did not
  • Those who participated in a creative or cultural activity in the previous 12 months were 38% more likely to report good health than those who did not
  • Those who visited a library or a museum were almost 20% more likely to report good health than those who had not
  • Those who visited a theatre were almost 25% more likely to report good health than those who did not
  • Those who participated in dance were 62% more likely to report good health than those who did not
  • And those who read for pleasure were 33% more likely to report good health than those who did not

Previously: Research suggests art lovers may fare better after a strokeDancing with cerebral palsy and Making museums more inviting for autistic children and their families 
Photo by I Robertson

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