Norwegian study discovers evidence that culture may improve health

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. The study is based on the third population-based Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (2006–2008), including 50,797 adult participants from Nord-Trøndelag County, Norway. Data on cultural activities, both receptive and creative, perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life were collected by questionnaires. (Receptive activities were effectively the consumption of culture – attendance at events, etc – creative activities were the active participation in culture)

The study found 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.

The report, however warns that whilst the evidence appears to suggest that culture could be used to improve health, it may be that healthier people take part in more culture, and so the results may be inconclusive.

To read the full report click here.

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2011/05/04/jech.2010.113571