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Music Sci. 2017 Jun;21(2):178-194. doi: 10.1177/1029864916644486. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

Comparison of Well-being of Older Adult Choir Singers and the General Population in Finland: A Case-Control Study.

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Institute for Health & Aging, Center for Aging in Diverse Communities, University of California, San Francisco. 3333 California, Suite 340, San Francisco, CA 94118-1944 USA tel: 001-415-476-1106; fax: 001-415-502-5206.
Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, FINLAND. P.O. Box 35 (M), 40014 Jyväskylä, FINLAND tel: 358 40 8054310.
Department of Economics, University of Helsinki, Kaupintie 3 D 2, 04400 Helsinki, FINLAND tel: 358 40 480 1906.


Previous research suggests that singing in a choir as an older adult is associated with better quality of life (QOL). However, the degree to which sociodemographic variables and level of engagement in hobbies contribute to this relationship is largely unknown. The aim of the study was to compare quality of life (QOL) of older adult choir singers with a matched sample of older adults from the general population in Finland, taking into consideration sociodemographic, satisfaction with health, and level of engagement in hobbies (active, inactive). Case-control methods were used to match a sample of 109 older adult singers with a sample of 307 older adults from the general population. Tobit regression analysis with sociodemographic covariates was used to explore observed group differences in QOL as measured by two WHOQOL-Bref domains (psychological and physical). Probit regression analysis was used to examine the effect of sociodemographic variables and engagement in hobbies and on overall QOL and satisfaction with health. As expected, sociodemographic variables were strongly associated with physical and psychological QOL. After controlling for sociodemographic variables, the older choir singers reported significantly higher ratings on physical QOL, but not psychological QOL, compared to matched controls. Additional adjustment for satisfaction for health attenuated the results. When considering level of engagement in hobbies, older adult choir singers reported significantly higher overall QOL and satisfaction with health when compared to either controls who were either actively engaged in hobbies or not active in hobbies. These results suggest that singing in a choir as an older adult may promote well-being, even after accounting for sociodemographic and level of engagement in hobbies.


arts; case-control methods; choir; health promotion; music; older adults; quality of life; singing

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