Culture and Health

Arts, mental distress, mental health functioning & life satisfaction

Fixed-effects analyses of a nationally-representative panel study

The study examined data from 23,660 people and used fixed effects models to control for time-constant variables of frequent arts attendance on mental health. Cultural and arts attendance is associated with lower levels of mental distress and higher levels of life satisfaction. This association is independent of confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, childhood arts engagement, prior mental health, and personality. Even after adjusting for demographic variables, health behaviour and social support, art continues to have a positive impact on mental health. In conclusion, artistic engagement can help improve mental health and protect against mental distress.