Cultural Activities, Art Forms and Wellbeing

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Fukiwara D, MacKerron G

Year of Publication:

Arts Council England

Publication Type:


This Arts Council England report resents findings on the relationships between cultural engagement and momentary wellbeing using experience sampling dataset gathered through the Mappiness phone app.

The authors state that data were gathered from ‘tens of thousands’ of UK participants since August 2010. They acknowledge that the sample is not representative of the wider UK population as ‘wealthier people, young people and employed people are over-represented.’ Nevertheless, some ‘interesting results’ emerged:

1. All forms of cultural engagement and all art forms were positively associated with happiness and relaxation
2. Cultural activities rank highly in their impacts on happiness and relaxation compared with other activities (such as socialising, drinking alcohol and playing with children)
3. Participating in cultural activities alone rather than with others had a greater positive effect on happiness and relaxation

The authors give the caveat that their findings are based on observational data, and so ‘causation cannot be directly inferred.’ They claim, however, that their statistically procedures allowed them to ‘control for the main determinants of wellbeing’ and so point to causal connections between cultural participation and wellbeing.

Evidence Type: Non-Randomised Evaluation

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Survey

Context: Community

Participant Group: Older Adults

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Fujiwara, D. and MacKerron, G. (2015) Cultural Activities, Artforms and Wellbeing. London: Arts Council England.