Uses of music and psychological well-being among the elderly

  • Petri LaukkaEmail author


A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 500 community living older adults in Sweden (aged 65–75 years). The questionnaire assessed uses of music in everyday life: frequency of listening, situations where music is encountered, emotional responses to music, and motives for listening (i.e., listening strategies). Also, different facets of psychological well-being (e.g., affective well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonic well-being) and selected background variables (e.g., education level, health status, activity level, and Big-5 personality characteristics) were assessed. Results showed that listening to music is a common leisure activity encountered in many everyday situations, and that listening to music is a frequent source of positive emotions for older adults. Also, the participants reported using a variety of listening strategies related to emotional functions (e.g., pleasure, mood regulation, and relaxation) and issues of identity, belonging, and agency. The associations between listening strategies and well-being were explored through correlation and multiple regression analyses where the influence of background variables was controlled for. Health status and personality were the most important predictors of well-being, but some listening strategies were also significantly associated with psychological well-being. The results give important insights into older adults’ uses of music in everyday life and give clues regarding possible relationships between musical activities and well-being.


emotion everyday life identity music psychological well-being. 



This work was supported by the research program ‚Arts in Hospital and Care as Culture’ within Stockholm Country Council through a grant to Petri Laukka.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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