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      The art of life and death: 14 year follow-up analyses of associations between arts engagement and mortality in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To explore associations between different frequencies of arts engagement and mortality over a 14 year follow-up period.

          Design

          Prospective cohort study.

          Participants

          English Longitudinal Study of Ageing cohort of 6710 community dwelling adults aged 50 years and older (53.6% women, average age 65.9 years, standard deviation 9.4) who provided baseline data in 2004-05.

          Intervention

          Self reported receptive arts engagement (going to museums, art galleries, exhibitions, the theatre, concerts, or the opera).

          Measurement

          Mortality measured through data linkage to the National Health Service central register.

          Results

          People who engaged with receptive arts activities on an infrequent basis (once or twice a year) had a 14% lower risk of dying at any point during the follow-up (809/3042 deaths, hazard ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.77 to 0.96) compared with those who never engaged (837/1762 deaths). People who engaged with receptive arts activities on a frequent basis (every few months or more) had a 31% lower risk of dying (355/1906 deaths, 0.69, 0.59 to 0.80), independent of demographic, socioeconomic, health related, behavioural, and social factors. Results were robust to a range of sensitivity analyses with no evidence of moderation by sex, socioeconomic status, or social factors. This study was observational and so causality cannot be assumed.

          Conclusions

          Receptive arts engagement could have a protective association with longevity in older adults. This association might be partly explained by differences in cognition, mental health, and physical activity among those who do and do not engage in the arts, but remains even when the model is adjusted for these factors.

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          Most cited references33

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          Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis.

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            Accountable Health Communities--Addressing Social Needs through Medicare and Medicaid.

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              The Social Brain: Mind, Language, and Society in Evolutionary Perspective

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: associate professor of psychobiology and epidemiology
                Role: professor of psychology and epidemiology
                Journal
                BMJ
                BMJ
                BMJ-UK
                bmj
                The BMJ
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                0959-8138
                1756-1833
                2019
                18 December 2019
                : 367
                : l6377
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: D Fancourt d.fancourt@ 123456ucl.ac.uk (or @Daisy_Fancourt on Twitter)
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6952-334X
                Article
                fand051206
                10.1136/bmj.l6377
                7190042
                31852659
                bf533fcd-4108-4e38-83f1-ffabf8de3366
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 24 September 2019
                Categories
                Research
                1778
                2320
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                Medicine
                Medicine

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