New Zealand - International Document

The arts in health: Evidence from the international literature

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Bidwell S

Year of Publication:

Pegasus Health Charitable Ltd

Publication Type:


This literature review was requested by Population Health and Community Engagement, Pegasus Health (primary care network) to provide a broad overview of the contribution that participation in the arts can make for individuals’ health and wellbeing. The document aims to:
• Provide a brief outline of theories that underpin the arts as a means to benefit health and wellbeing
• Give an overview of evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies from the past ten years
• Discuss the challenges of evaluating the outcomes from arts-based health promotion programmes

The review includes studies published in the last ten years that report on arts programmes in music, drama, dance or visual arts in community settings, including community mental health settings. It should be noted that although Arts in health also covers in-patient treatments by specialist art or music therapists and the provision of visual art and music to enhance the hospital environments, these are not discussed here as they are hospital-based rather than community programmes.

Evidence Type: Literature Review

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Bidwell S. (2014). The arts in health: Evidence from the international literature. Christchurch, New Zealand: Pegasus Health.