Scottish report proves culture is good for your health

Posted: September 4, 2013

Participation in cultural activities has been shown to be good for your health, according to research in Scotland:

Participation in culture is significantly associated with good health and high life satisfaction in Scotland, according to the latest research. A detailed study by Scottish Government analysts of the impact on health of both culture and sport, based on data from the Scottish Household Survey 2011, confirms for the first time that participating in culture or attending cultural places or events has a positive impact on the nation’s health and life satisfaction.

The report, Healthy Attendance: The Impact of Cultural Engagement and Sports Participation on Health and Satisfaction with life in Scotland 2013, identifies a positive link with wellbeing even when other factors including age, economic status, income, area deprivation, education qualification, disability or long-standing illness and smoking are accounted for.

The survey involved nearly 10,000 respondents. Those who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60% more likely to report good health compared to those who had not, and theatre-goers were almost 25% more likely to report good health. Participation in a creative or cultural activity shows similar benefits: those who had done this were 38% more likely to report good health compared to those who did not, but that figure rises to 62% for those who participate in dance. Those who read for pleasure were also 33 per cent more likely to report good health.