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      Longitudinal Associations Between Short-Term, Repeated, and Sustained Arts Engagement and Well-Being Outcomes in Older Adults

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          This study investigated whether frequency of receptive arts engagement over 10 years contributes to experienced, evaluative, and eudaimonic well-being in older adults.


          We used repeated data of 3,188 respondents from Waves 2–7 (2004/2005–2014/2015) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We examined longitudinal associations between short-term (frequent engagement at one wave), repeated (frequent engagement at 2–3 waves), and sustained (frequent engagement at 4–6 waves) arts engagement and experienced, evaluative and eudaimonic well-being. We fitted linear and logistic regression models adjusted for baseline well-being and a number of sociodemographic, economic, health, and social engagement factors.


          In the fully adjusted models, short-term engagement was not longitudinally associated with well-being, but repeated engagement with the theater/concerts/opera and museums/galleries/exhibitions was associated with enhanced eudaimonic well-being, and sustained engagement with these activities was associated with greater experienced, evaluative, and eudaimonic well-being.


          Long-term frequent engagement with certain arts activities is associated with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, self-realization, and control/autonomy in older adults. These findings suggest that policies that facilitate older adults’ access to arts venues and activities, and support their continued engagement with them, may help to promote happy, fulfilling lives of an increasing segment of the population.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Cultural capital in educational research: A critical assessment

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            The relation between everyday activities and successful aging: a 6-year longitudinal study.

             V. Menec (2003)
            Activity has long been thought to be related to successful aging. This study was designed to examine longitudinally the relation between everyday activities and indicators of successful aging, namely well-being, function, and mortality. The study was based on the Aging in Manitoba Study, with activity being measured in 1990 and function, well-being, and mortality assessed in 1996. Well-being was measured in terms of life satisfaction and happiness; function was defined in terms of a composite measure combining physical and cognitive function. Regression analyses indicated that greater overall activity level was related to greater happiness, better function, and reduced mortality. Different activities were related to different outcome measures; but generally, social and productive activities were positively related to happiness, function, and mortality, whereas more solitary activities (e.g., hand-work hobbies) were related only to happiness. These findings highlight the importance of activity in successful aging. The results also suggest that different types of activities may have different benefits. Whereas social and productive activities may afford physical benefits, as reflected in better function and greater longevity, more solitary activities, such as reading, may have more psychological benefits by providing a sense of engagement with life.
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              Arts participation as cultural capital in the United States, 1982–2002: Signs of decline?


                Author and article information

                Role: Decision Editor
                J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
                J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
                The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
                Oxford University Press (US )
                August 2020
                11 June 2019
                11 June 2019
                : 75
                : 7
                : 1609-1619
                [1 ] Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music , London
                [2 ] Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London , UK
                [3 ] Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London , UK
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to: Daisy Fancourt, PhD, Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, UK. E-mail: d.fancourt@ Aaron Williamon and Daisy Fancourt are joint last/senior authors.
                © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Funded by: HEartS;
                Award ID: AH/P005888/1
                Funded by: UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council to investigate the health, economic and social impact of the arts;
                Award ID: AH/P005888/1
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust, DOI 10.13039/100010269;
                Award ID: 205407/Z/16/Z
                The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences
                Social Networks and Relationships
                Editor's Choice


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