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Taking Part - Focus On: Wellbeing

Arts attenders claim to be ‘happier’ than non-attenders, according to a report released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), based on its Taking Part survey findings over three years from 2010/11 to 2012/13. This new report focusses on the wellbeing of the adult population of England and investigates the relationship between participation in cultural and sporting activities and subjective wellbeing.  To measure happiness the Taking Part survey asks respondents: “Taking all things together how happy would you say you are?” Headline findings suggest:

  • Visits to heritage sites is a predictor of higher life satisfaction and happiness and lower anxiety.
  • Visiting museums is a predictor of lower life satisfaction and lower anxiety.
  • Audience participation in the arts is not a predictor of wellbeing in most instances, although direct participation in the arts is a significant predictor of wellbeing scores for multiple art forms.
  • Visiting a library within the past 12 months was found to have a statistically significant association with lower happiness scores, even after other factors, including income, had been taken into account.
  • Of the types of sports participation, the only factor that was positively associated with life satisfaction and how worthwhile life is, was taking part in an activity that increased breathing rate.
  • Having access to the internet at home is a predictor of higher life satisfaction and finding life more worthwhile.

Although researchers found the happiness score for those who had attended an arts event within the past 12 months was only 0.8% greater than for others, this difference is classed as “non-trivial”, as relationships between wellbeing and external factors tend to be weak.

Read the full report here