Quality of Life for Individuals with a Neurological Condition, who Participate in Social/Therapeutic Choirs

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Brieonie Jenkins
BA (Hons), GradDip (Psych)
The University of Auckland

Shari Storie
MMusTher (Hons), BSc, BMus, NZ RMTh
The University of Auckland

Suzanne Purdy
The University of Auckland


Keywords: Choral singing, music therapy, quality of life (QoL), neurological conditions.


As New Zealand’s population ages, the prevalence of neurological conditions will increase. As such, there is a vital need to ensure that we are able to provide easily accessible, appropriate and effective therapeutic support to these individuals. Participation in a choir has been proposed to have a number of benefits, including improved mood, health and social support across a variety of populations including those with neurological conditions. This cross-sectional observational study used mixed methods to characterise the quality of life of individuals who participated in therapeutic and social choirs facilitated by music therapists. Participants were a convenience sample from the CeleBRation and Cantabrainers neurological choirs, New Zealand(NZ). Quality of life was measured with the NZ WHOQOL-BREF and compared to the reference values of people with disabilities from the WHOQOL-DIS and the New Zealand reference values for the NZ WHOQOL-BREF. Content analysis was conducted on participants’ answers to open ended questions from a choir participation questionnaire. Findings show that 60 people with neurological condition who participate in a choir have some higher quality of life scores than the reference values of people with disabilities from the WHOQOL-DIS. Choir participants’ mean overall quality of life was 3.4 (SD= 1.04). Environment was the highest domain score (M= 15.86, SD= 2.09). The mean item score for choir participants was higher than the upper 95% CI for the WHOQOL-DIS reference values. Choir participants perceived positive improvements including physical, psychological and social benefits as a result of choir participation.

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