|Title||Receptive and participatory arts engagement and subsequent healthy aging: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Rena, M, Fancourt, D, Bu, F, Paul, E, Sonke, JK, Bone, JK|
|Journal||Soc Sci Med|
|Keywords||Chronic disease; Cognition; Cultural engagement; Mental health; Physical functioning|
RATIONALE: Arts engagement is associated with prolonged longevity, but it remains unclear whether it is also associated with increases in the portion of people's lives for which they remain healthy. We investigated whether receptive and participatory arts engagement were associated with healthy aging two and four years later.
METHOD: We included 1269 older adults from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a longitudinal study of individuals aged 50 and above in the United States. Participants who completed the HRS 2014 Culture and the Arts Module and who were alive in 2016 and 2018 were eligible. We measured the number of participatory arts activities engaged in (e.g., crafts, dancing) and frequency of receptive arts engagement (e.g., going to a gallery or performance) in the past year. Healthy aging was a binary outcome, conceptualized as no major chronic diseases, no cognitive impairment, good physical functioning, and good mental health.
RESULTS: In logistic regression models, doing receptive arts once a month or more was associated with higher odds of healthy aging four years later compared to never engaging (odds ratio [OR] = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.10, 2.96). However, this evidence was attenuated after adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic covariates (adjusted OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 0.84, 2.46). The number of participatory arts activities engaged in was not associated with healthy aging two or four years later. In sensitivity analyses, there was some evidence that receptive engagement was associated specifically with higher odds of good physical functioning four years later.
CONCLUSIONS: The lack of consistent associations between receptive and participatory arts engagement and healthy aging was unexpected given previous evidence for links between arts engagement and each of the four domains of healthy aging. Our findings highlight key methodological issues that should be explored in further research with larger nationally representative samples, longer follow-ups, and more detailed measures of arts engagement.