Norwegian Study Shows Men And Women Affected Differently By ArtShare
Research suggests that engagement in cultural activities enhances health - and that the effect is mediated by gender.
Feeling depressed or under the weather? Maybe a trip to the opera is just what the doctor ordered. Researchers in Norway say they've established a correlation between their subjects' health and their participation in cultural activities.
In a recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, a team led by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that a healthier cultural life may be an indicator of a healthier, happier life in general. This doesn't mean that visiting a museum will immediately clear up recurring depression, just that active cultural lifestyles may be healthier as a whole than the alternative. The researchers used data on cultural participation and perceived health from the 2006-2008 Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, and differentiated between "creative cultural activities," such as singing or painting, and "receptive cultural activities," such as watching a film or listening to music.
One of the study's most provocative findings was the gender-specific component of these correlations. On the one hand, "attending receptive cultural activities is associated less with good health than participating in creative cultural activities in women;" on the other, "The study revealed that men who engaged speciﬁcally in receptive, rather than creative, cultural activities reported better health-related outcomes." In other words, while women seem to benefit most from active art creation, men show a stronger response when they spend some time appreciating others' work.