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16th January, 2023

ResearchWorks: Singing, wellbeing and health

GuildhallSchool Red

Event Details

16th January, 2023
17:00 -

Speaker: Stephen Clift

In a series of previous publications I have argued that a more robust approach is needed in evidence reviews of research on wellbeing and health benefits of engagement in creative arts activities. These papers have focused in turn on general scoping reviews of the arts and health literature commissioned by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and on primary research trials on art, music and dance therapy and their treatment in subsequent evidence reviews, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

In this presentation, I take as a starting point a study by Gene Cohen and colleagues on singing, wellbeing and health, which is highly cited in the arts and health literature. I consider the treatment of the findings from this study in ten subsequent evidence reviews and demonstrate a lack of critical scrutiny in all reviews, including meticulous systematic reviews. I then highlight serious limitations in the Cohen et al. research and show that it provides no credible scientific evidence that singing had wellbeing and health benefits for the participants in the study. Implications and recommendations from this work will be discussed.

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