Culture and Health

Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers

The study provides preliminary evidence for the impact singing has on mood, stress, immune response in three populations affected by cancer: carers (n = 72), bereaved carers (n = 66) and patients (n = 55). Participants took part in five choirs in five centres. Before and after singing, visual analogue mood scales, stress scales and saliva samples testing for cortisol, beta-endorphin, oxytocin and ten cytokines were taken. In all centres and across all participant groups, singing was associated with significant reductions in cortisol levels and with improvement in mood. The study opens up future prospects for application.