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Artistic hobbies 'fight depression'

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People who are involved in artistic hobbies like painting, dancing or playing musical instruments feel healthier and are less prone to depression than those who do not, according to a survey.

The study, carried out in Norway on nearly 50,000 people, used questionnaires, interviews and examinations to determine the health profiles of the population.

It found that, regardless of socio-economic background, those involved in the arts, or who just enjoy watching them, felt healthier and less depressed.

The study was conducted for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, or HUNT.

Professor Jostein Holmen, presented the findings at a Norwegian health conference in November. He said: “There is a positive relationship between cultural participation and self-perceived health for both women and men.

“For men, there is also a positive relationship between cultural participation and depression, in that there is less depression among men who participate in cultural activities, although this is not true for women.”

He added that a particular surprise was that socio-economic status had no bearing on the effect the arts had on a person’s heath and wellbeing.

Steinar Krokstad, HUNT’s director and an associate professor at NTNU, said: “We in the health services do not always have control over the most effective preventive tools given the range of today’s illnesses. We need to increasingly focus on opportunities rather than on risk.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Of course..everybody knows this to be true. Why do we waste time and money trying to prove stuff that is already well known. They will be doing a study to prove that snow brings happyness to children next.
    The disaster, of course is the closing down of properly funded day Hospitals which provided Therapy of this sort for donkeys years.

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  • Yes we know this to be true sadly those with the funds don't. When we are providing services and looking for funding for services it is important to be able to base our requests on robust research and therefore demonstrate that we are providing evidence based practice. Otherwise those with the purses make those knee jerk short term cuts that do no good.

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