Culture and Health

Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between arts engagement, loneliness, and social support in adolescence

A study of a sample of 11,780 adolescents investigated whether artistic activity is associated with loneliness and social support during adolescence. No direct association was found between artistic activity and concomitant or subsequent loneliness. However, participation in one or more art activities at school was associated with a higher likelihood of having a high level of social support among peers, although this association attenuated after adjustment for other variables. In contrast, the practice of art activities was associated with an increased likelihood of reporting a high level of social support one year later, independent of other variables and prior social support. Extracurricular art activities provide opportunities for social engagement, development of friendships and building a sense of community, which may explain the correlation with social support.