Health benefits of evening classes revealed (Science Daily):
“Those with a taste for adult education classes have long known it, but now Oxford University scientists have confirmed that taking part in the weekly sessions can boost wellbeing — regardless of the subject studied.
In partnership with the Worker’s Educational Association (WEA), the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland, a team from Oxford’s department of experimental psychology studied attendees at seven separate day-time adult education classes…Overall, attendees at all seven classes had improved mental and physical health and reported more satisfaction with their lives at the end of their courses.
An intriguing finding was in the singing and creative writing classes…The results showed that those in the singing and creative writing groups built up relationships with other individuals more quickly than the crafters, and singers felt more connected to the class as a whole more quickly than both the other groups.”
Study: Is Group Singing Special? Health, Well-Being and Social Bonds in Community-Based Adult Education Classes (Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology)
- From the abstract: Evidence demonstrates that group singing improves health and well-being, but the precise mechanisms remain unknown. Given that cohesive social networks also positively influence health, we focus on the social aspects of singing, exploring whether improvements in health and well-being are mediated by stronger social bonds, both to the group as a whole (collective-bonding) and to individual classmates (relational-bonding). To do so, seven newly formed community-based adult education classes (four singing, N=84, and three comparison classes studying creative writing or crafts, N=51) were followed over seven months. Self-report questionnaire data on mental and physical health, well-being and social bonding were collected at Months 1, 3 and 7. We demonstrate that physical and mental health and satisfaction with life significantly improved over time in both conditions…singing may not improve health and well-being more than other types of activities. Nonetheless, these findings encourage further work to refine our understanding of the social aspects of community-based adult education classes in promoting health, well-being and community cohesion.
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