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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2018 Nov 9. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gby132. [Epub ahead of print]

A Community Choir Intervention to Promote Well-being among Diverse Older Adults: Results from the Community of Voices Trial.

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Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Center for Aging in Diverse Communities, UCSF.
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF.
Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCSF.



To test effects of the Community of Voices choir intervention on the health, well-being, and healthcare costs of racial/ethnically diverse older adults.


Twelve Administration-on-Aging-supported senior centers were cluster randomized into two groups: the intervention group started the choir immediately and a wait-list control group began the choir 6 months later. The 12-month choir program was designed for community-dwelling adults aged 60 and over. The multimodal intervention comprises activities that engage participants cognitively, physically, and socially. Outcome measures assessed these 3 domains as well as healthcare utilization and costs. The intention-to-treat comparison was at 6 months.


The sample (N=390) had a mean age of 71.3 years (SD=7.2); 65% were non-white. Six-month retention was 92%. Compared to controls, intervention group members experienced significantly greater improvements in loneliness (p=0.02; standardized effect size (ES=0.34) and interest in life (p=0.008, ES=0.39). No significant group differences were observed for cognitive or physical outcomes or for healthcare costs.


Findings support adoption of community choirs for reducing loneliness and increasing interest in life among diverse older adults. Further efforts need to examine the mechanisms by which engagement in choirs improves aspects of well-being and reduces health disparities among older adults, including potential longer-term effects.


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