Music listening as distraction from everyday worries


Background: Anecdote suggests that listening to music can help to distract from worries about ongoing life problems. Purpose: In this study we examine the phenomenon and ask, to what extent does music listening alleviate worry, and under what circumstances? Our focus was on the immediate temporary effects. Methodology: We performed four pilot experiments with audiences comprised of different ages and backgrounds of musical experience. As part of these experiments, we constructed a visual analogue scale (VAS) to assess “daily worry” together with the three other dimensions of tiredness-arousal, sadness-happy and anxiety-calmness. Participants were asked to listen to live classical music and to fill out the VAS before and after assessments. The experiments enabled us to examine the similarities and differences among audiences of different ages and music experience with regard to the capacity for music to distract them from their worries, what we term ‘worry distraction’. Findings: In the different listening situations, the self-rating of daily worries decreases after listening to live, high-quality professional performances of classical music. In our experiments, previous experience of classical music does not have a significant effect on decreased worry while listening. University level education in general, however, is associated with an increased effect. This prompts a discussion regarding the role education plays as a determinant for health – including the relationship between experiences of music in relation to health. Originality: It is striking that live classical music could affect daily worries of people across different age groups evaluated with our simple and easily distributed Visual Analogue Scale. This could therefore be recommended for evaluations in other contexts

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oaioai:DiVA.org:uu-397368Last time updated on 11/29/2019

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