Inspired Creativity

By: Donald Stewart  

Australian research, using the ‘Sing to Beat Parkinsons®’ approach, provides evidence showing that group singing has a substantial beneficial impact on health such as enhanced quality of life, reduced emotional burden, and enhanced communication. The project also explored participants’ experience of singing and perceived health benefits. A mixed methods study design focused on people living with Parkinson’s (PWP) and their carers in SE Queensland. They attended one hour weekly group singing sessions over twenty-four weeks. Pre‐/post‐intervention assessments were made using PDQ 39, PDQ Carer, and DASS21. In‐depth interviews were also conducted. Seventy-eight participants completed the project (56PWP/22 carers) aged 51-94 years, 54% male 46% female, mean time since diagnosis of 7.41 years (range 0-25 years). Results indicated a statistically significant (P value <.01) improvement: mobility (36.6-35.2 p = .007), activities of daily living (32.8-30 p = .006), emotional wellbeing (26-24.6 p = .005), stigma 18.4-14.7 p = .001), social support (15.5-14.4 p = .002). The single index, plus cognitive impairment, communication, and bodily discomfort were not statistically significant. Measurements of depression, anxiety, and stress showed a statistically significant reduction: depression (8.54-7.15 p = .001), anxiety (3.47-3.22 p = .000), stress (8.61-8.37 p = .000). These results support emerging interest in non-medical determinants of health and new approaches to improving health, wellbeing, and quality of life, particularly for those with long term chronic degenerative conditions. They also support the vision of empowering individuals to actively participate in their wellbeing through community engagement and non-traditional tools of healing.

Group singing, Parkinson's, Quality of life
Medical Perspectives on Aging, Health, Wellness
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Prof. Donald Stewart

Professor of Health Promotion, School of Medicine, Griffith University

Currently Professor of Health Promotion at Griffith University's School of Medicine I was recently the Convenor of the 'Music, Health and Wellbeing' research focus at the Queensaland Conservatorium Research Centre. In this role, I investigated the impact of the 'Sing to Beat Parkinson's' program on people with Parkinson's and their carers.