Healthy arts?: exploring the relationship between arts engagement and population health

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated] INTRODUCTION:To expand the Arts and Health knowledge base, health outcomes must be scientifically demonstrated, definitions elucidated, a conceptual framework explicated, the health-arts relationship quantified and the viability of the arts as a health promotion setting verified. This PhD contributed to each of these objectives by investigating two themes: ‘Arts for Health’ (i.e. the idea that arts engagement can promote, maintain and improve health), and ‘Health in Arts’ (i.e. health sponsorship of arts organisations to promote wellbeing). The focus of this PhD was on the general population (rather than clinical populations or specific target groups), and on the art people do as part of their everyday lives for enjoyment, entertainment or as a hobby (rather than therapy or art programs).

    METHODS:A mixed-methods approach utilising qualitative and quantitative techniques was employed. Data were analysed via NVivo, SPSS and/or SAS for Windows. To define arts engagement for population based research, the study commenced with two online surveys of international experts (survey 1, n=280, response rate= 44%; survey 2, n=100, response rate= 57%). The data were analysed using thematic, descriptive and factor analyses. Next, to develop a health-arts framework, interviews with members of the Western Australian general population were conducted (n=33). Interviews were analysed thematically. The arts engagement definition and health-arts framework subsequently facilitated the development of the ‘Healthy arts telephone survey’. This cross-sectional survey provided a detailed measure of population based arts engagement (n=702, response rate=71%). Via descriptive and regression analyses, the relationship between arts engagement (hours per year) and mental wellbeing (assessed via the Warwick-Edinburg Mental Wellbeing Scale) was quantified. Finally, to assess the viability of the arts as a health setting, secondary analyses of Healthway’s ‘Community Recreation & Health’ (n=1997, response rate = 59%) and ‘Sponsorship Monitor’ (592 arts and 420 sports respondents) data were conducted.

    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    • Rosenberg, Michael, Supervisor
    • Knuiman, Matthew, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


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