Singing for Better Breathing: Findings from the Lambeth and Southwark Singing and COPD Project

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Clift S et al

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Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

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The final report of a study evaluating a network of six community singing groups for people with COPD in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

There is limited evidence that singing improves lung function and exercise capacity, but qualitative feedback from participants has been highly positive. Testimonies point to singing having substantial subjective benefits for physical, psychological and social wellbeing, and in enabling people with COPD to better manage their lung condition.

The current study in Lambeth and Southwark, South London, was based on earlier research conducted in East Kent, UK. Morrison et al. (2013) established and evaluated a network of six community singing groups for people with COPD which ran over the course of ten months. The aim of this study was to further test the feasibility of setting up a network of community singing groups for people with COPD to run over the course of ten months from end of September 2015 to end of July.
The study shows that COPD patients who took part in singing groups experienced a reduction in symptoms, as measured by the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire. Detailed structured interviews also revealed a wide range presentation”>of physical, psychological and social benefits, which together substantially improved the wellbeing of participants. In addition, lung function and functional exercise capacity was maintained throughout the course of the 6 – 10 month singing intervention. The findings add to the previous body of research in supporting the value of regular singing for people with COPD, and other respiratory conditions.
We agree with the conclusions reached in a recent systematic review (Lewis,et al., 2016) that further, larger-scale controlled trials are needed to establish benefits and address a range of outstanding questions on effective delivery. Confounding factors of weather and background air pollution may have had some impact on the participants in this study. Such factors can only be controlled for through multi-centre trials in which an intervention is run over a wide geographical area including inner-city and rural locations. Our experience of difficulties with recruitment indicates the need for greater resources, time and effort to ensure sufficient numbers for any future studies on singing for people with lung disease.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Physical Health

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Specific Physical Health Condition

Art Forms: Music

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Clift, S., Skingley, A., Price, S., Stephens, L., Hurley, S., Dickinson, J., Meadows, S., Levai, I., Jackson, A., Sullivan, R., Wren, N., McDaid, D., Park, A., Saleem, A., Baxter, N., Rosenthuler, G. and Shah, S. 2017. Singing for better breathing: findings from the Lambeth & Southwark singing and COPD project. Canterbury Canterbury Christ Church University.