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A research study to investigate the effect of choral singing on quality of life of people affected by cancer

Reagon, Carly ORCID:, Gale, Nichola ORCID:, Dow, Rosemary, Lewis, Ian and Van Deursen, Robert William Martin ORCID: 2014. A research study to investigate the effect of choral singing on quality of life of people affected by cancer. Presented at: Science of Singing Health and Wellbeing Symposium, Royal College of Music, London, UK, 9-10 Sept 2014. pp. 505-509.

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Background: The diagnosis of cancer creates a wide range of social and emotional problems for patients, family members and friends. Social support and group therapy has been shown to improve mood, anxiety, depression and heath related quality of life (QoL). This mixed methods study investigated the effects of choral singing on QoL in cancer patients and their supporters. Method: Individuals involved in community choirs across Wales funded by the cancer charity Tenovus were invited to participate in the study. Health related QoL was measured using the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD). Additionally semi-structured interviews (n=30) and focus groups (n=3) were conducted with a purposeful sample of choir members. Results: Thus far 424 individuals have been recruited into the study across 15 choirs. At baseline, patients had lower scores for all domains of the SF36 and greater depression than supporters. 51 of 140 cancer patients and 98 of 284 supporters have completed follow-up assessments at 3 and 6 months. Patients showed improved mental health and both groups had lower anxiety and depression (p<0.05). Patients, but not supporters, who did not continue the choir or complete the follow-up assessment had reduced physical and general health and greater depression at baseline. The qualitative data suggests that the choirs provide a range of benefits including feeling uplifted, a sense of belonging, social support and social interaction, feelings of accomplishment, a positive focus, musical expression, and having fun. Conclusion: The gains in QoL after 3 month of choral singing were maintained at 6 months, in cancer survivors and their carers who participated in the choir. Although the influence of selection bias in these results is still under investigation, the act of singing together appears to uplift and motivate individuals providing many social benefits. Individuals who did not continue singing may need alternative support mechanisms, which warrants further investigation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 12:10

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