Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Quality of life (QOL) of older adult community choral singers in Finland

  • Julene K. Johnson (a1), Jukka Louhivuori (a2), Anita L. Stewart (a1), Asko Tolvanen (a3), Leslie Ross (a1) and Pertti Era (a4)...

Background: Enhancing quality of life (QOL) of older adults is an international area of focus. Identifying factors and experiences that contribute to QOL of older adults helps promote optimal levels of functioning. This study examines the relationship between perceived benefits associated with choral singing and QOL among community-dwelling older adults.

Methods: One hundred seventeen older adults who sing in community choirs in Jyväskylä, Finland, completed self-report measures of QOL (WHOQOL-Bref), depressive symptoms, and a questionnaire about the benefits of singing in choir. Correlational analyses and linear regression models were used to examine the association between the benefits of singing in choir and QOL.

Results: Both correlation and regression analyses found significant relationships between the benefits of choral singing and three QOL domains: psychological, social relationships, and environment. These associations remained significant after adjusting for age and depressive symptoms. As hypothesized, older choral singers who reported greater benefits of choir singing had higher QOL in multiple domains. The older choral singers in the study also reported few symptoms of depression and high overall QOL and satisfaction with health.

Conclusion: Results suggest that singing in a community choir as an older adult may positively influence several aspects of QOL. These results suggest that community choral singing may be one potential avenue for promoting QOL in older adults.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Julene K. Johnson, PhD, UCSF Institute for Health & Aging, 3333 California St., Suite 340, San Francisco, CA 94118-1944, USA. Phone: +1-415-476-1106; Fax: +1-415-502-5206. Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T. N. Akbaraly et al. (2009). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly: results from the Three-City Study. Neurology, 73, 854861.

K. Batt-Rawden and G. Tellnes (2011). How music may promote healthy behaviour. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 39, 113120.

R. J. Beck , T. C. Cesario , A. Yousefi and H. Enamoto (2000). Choral singing, performance perception, and immune system changes in salivary immunoglobulin A and cortisol. Music Perception, 18, 87106.

C. E. Brett , A. J. Gow , J. Corley , A. Pattie , J. M. Starr and I. J. Deary (2011). Psychosocial factors and health as determinants of quality of life in community-dwelling older adults. Quality of Life Research, 21, 505516.

L. O. Bygren , B. B. Konlaan and S. E. Johansson (1996). Attendance at cultural events, reading books or periodicals, and making music or singing in a choir as determinants for survival: Swedish interview survey of living conditions. BMJ, 313, 15771580.

S. M. Clift and G. Hancox (2001). The perceived benefits of singing: findings from preliminary surveys of a university college choral society. The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 121, 248256.

S. M. Clift , G. Hancox , I. Morrison , B. Hess and D. Stewart (2010). Choral singing and psychological wellbeing: quantitative and qualitative findings from English choirs in a cross-national survey. Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 1, 1934.

G. D. Cohen , S. Perlstein , J. Chapline , J. Kelly , K. M. Firth and S. Simmens (2006). The impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults. Gerontologist, 46, 726734.

K. Cuypers , S. Krokstad , T. L. Holmen , M. Skjei Knudtsen , L. O. Bygren and J. Holmen (2011). Patterns of receptive and creative cultural activities and their association with perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life among adults: the HUNT study, Norway. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 66, 698703.

E. Diener , E. M. Suh , R. E. Lucas and H. L. Smith (1999). Subjective well-being: three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276302.

L. Fratiglioni , S. Paillard-Borg and B. Winblad (2004). An active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life might protect against dementia. Lancet Neurology, 3, 343353.

M. L. Gick (2011). Singing, health and well-being: a health psychologist's reveiw. Psychomusicology, 21, 176207.

C. Grape , M. Sandgren , L. O. Hansson , M. Ericson and T. Theorell (2003). Does singing promote well-being?: an empirical study of professional and amateur singers during a singing lesson. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science, 38, 6574.

C. Grape , B. M. Wikstrom , R. Ekman , D. Hasson and T. Theorell (2010). Comparison between choir singing and group discussion in irritable bowel syndrome patients over one year: saliva testosterone increases in new choir singers. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 79, 196198.

Y. Hao (2008). Productive activities and psychological well-being among older adults. Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 63, S64S72.

R. L. Heikkinen and M. Kauppinen (2011). Mental well-being: a 16-year follow-up among older residents in Jyvaskyla. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 52, 3339.

M. T. Hyyppä , J. Maki , O. Impivaara and A. Aromaa (2006). Leisure participation predicts survival: a population-based study in Finland. Health Promotion International, 21, 512.

A. Karp , S. Paillard-Borg , H. X. Wang , M. Silverstein , B. Winblad and L. Fratiglioni (2006). Mental, physical and social components in leisure activities equally contribute to decrease dementia risk. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 21, 6573.

D. T. Kenny and G. Faunce (2004). The impact of group singing on mood, coping, and perceived pain in chronic pain patients attending a multidisciplinary pain clinic. Journal of Music Therapy, 41, 241258.

B. B. Konlaan , H. Theobald and L. O. Bygren (2002). Leisure time activity as a determinant of survival: a 26-year follow-up of a Swedish cohort. Public Health, 116, 227230.

G. Kreutz , S. Bongard , S. Rohrmann , V. Hodapp and D. Grebe (2004). Effects of choir singing or listening on secretory immunoglobulin A, cortisol, and emotional state. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 27, 623635.

M. P. Lawton (1991). A multidimensional view of quality of life. In J. E. Birren , J. E. Lubben , J. C. Rowe and D. E. Deutchman (eds.), The Concept and Measurement of Quality of Life in the Frail Elderly (pp. 327). New York: Academic Press.

M. P. Lawton , M. Moss , C. Hoffman , R. Grant , T. Ten Have and M. H. Kleban (1999). Health, valuation of life, and the wish to live. Gerontologist, 39, 406416.

H. Noice and T. Noice (2009). An arts intervention for older adults living in subsidized retirement homes. Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition. Section B, Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 16, 5679.

O. Nummela , T. Sulander , O. Rahkonen and A. Uutela (2008). Associations of self-rated health with different forms of leisure activities among ageing people. International Journal of Public Health, 53, 227235.

C. Putland (2008). Lost in translation: the question of evidence linking community-based arts and health promotion. Journal of Health Psychology, 13, 265276.

M. Rantakokko , S. Iwarsson , M. Kauppinen , R. Leinonen , E. Heikkinen and T. Rantanen (2010). Quality of life and barriers in the urban outdoor environment in old age. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58, 21542159.

M. Salminen , I. Raiha , J. Heinonen and S. L. Kivela (2012). Morbidity in aged Finns: a systematic review. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54, 278292.

S. M. Skevington , M. Lotfy and K. A. O'Connell (2004). The World Health Organization's WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment: psychometric properties and results of the international field trial. A report from the WHOQOL group. Quality of Life Research, 13, 299310.

H. L. Stuckey and J. Nobel (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 254263.

A. Väänänen , M. Murray , A. Koskinen , J. Vahtera , A. Kouvonen and M. Kivimäki (2009). Engagement in cultural activities and cause-specific mortality: prospective cohort study. Preventive Medicine, 49, 142147.

M. Vaarama , R. Pieper and A. Sixsmith (2008). Care-Related Quality of Life in Old Age: Concepts, Models and Empirical Findings. New York: Springer.

J. Verghese et al. (2003). Leisure activities and the risk of dementia in the elderly. The New England Journal of Medicine, 348, 25082516.

J. Verghese et al. (2006). Leisure activities and the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment in the elderly. Neurology, 66, 821827.

C. Y. Wan and G. Schlaug (2010). Music making as a tool for promoting brain plasticity across the life span. Neuroscientist, 16, 566577.

WHOQOL-Group (1994). Development of the WHOQOL: Rationale and current status. International Journal of Mental Health, 23, 2456.

WHOQOL-Group (1998). Development of the World Health Organization WHOQOL-BREF quality of life assessment. The WHOQOL Group. Psychological Medicine, 28, 551558.

J. A. Yesavage et al. (1983). Development and validity of a Geriatric Depression Scale: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 17, 3749.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 57 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 314 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.