Cultural services and activities: The association with self-rated health and quality of life

Tellervo Nenonen, Risto Matti Henrik Kaikkonen, Jukka Murto, Minna-Liisa Luoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Previous studies have shown that cultural participation has a positive effect on health and well-being. The aim of this study was to analyse how use of cultural services and participation in cultural activities is associated with self-rated health (SRH) and quality of life (QOL), using validated outcome measurements and key socio-demographic factors. Methods: The study data are drawn from the Regional Health and Well-being Study conducted in 2010 in Finland. (N = 31,000, response rate 48%). The data analysed in this paper consist of 11,905 respondents. Results: Logistic regression models adjusted for key socio-demographic factors showed that use of cultural services was associated with good SRH and good QOL. Also, associations were found between the practice of cultural activities and good SRH and QOL. However, the associations between activities and SRH and QOL were somewhat weaker. Conclusions: Use of cultural services and practicing cultural activities seem to have a positive association with SRH and QOL. Providing citizens with cultural services and activities can be seen as a silent social policy that has the potential to improve SRH and QOL. Further studies with a longitudinal design are needed to examine the causality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArts & health
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)235-253
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health

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