About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Cultural Activities Ward-Off Depression During Old Age

by Mohamed Fathima S on December 15, 2018 at 9:54 AM
Font : A-A+

Cultural Activities Ward-Off Depression During Old Age

Depression during old age can be drastically prevented by regular visits to the cinema, theater and museums reveal a new study. The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Researchers at University College London found a clear link between the frequency of 'cultural engagement' and the chances of someone over 50 developing depression. It is the first such study to show that cultural activities not only help people manage and recover from depression but can actually help to prevent it.

Advertisement


Their study found people who attended films, plays or exhibitions every few months had a 32 per cent lower risk of developing depression, with those attending once a month or more having a 48 per cent lower risk.

Now its lead author, Dr Daisy Fancourt, wants to encourage greater awareness of the benefits so that people can take better control of their own mental health.
Advertisement

She said: 'Generally speaking, people know the benefits of eating their five-a-day and of exercise for their physical and mental health, but there is very little awareness that cultural activities also have similar benefits. People engage with culture for the pure enjoyment of doing so, but we need to be raising awareness of their wider benefits too.'

The study looked at data on more than 2,000 people over the age of 50, who took part in the long-running English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). This provides a rich source of information for researchers like Dr Fancourt and her colleagues, covering the health, social, well-being and economic circumstances of older people in England.

Along with her colleague, Urszula Tymoszuk, Dr Fancourt was able to look at data collected from people's answers to questionnaires and in one-to-one interviews over the course of ten years. This included information about how often they visited the theater, concerts or the opera, the cinema, art galleries, exhibitions or museums. Their answers also revealed when participants reported being diagnosed with depression, and when they experienced symptoms that the pair could then measure on a scale widely used to spot people at risk of depression.

Even when the results were adjusted to take account of differences in people's age, gender, health and their levels of wealth, education and exercise, the benefits of cultural activities remained clear. Those benefits were also independent of whether or not people had contact with friends and family or took part in social activities like clubs and societies.

The researchers believe the power of these cultural activities lies in the combination of social interaction, creativity, mental stimulation and gentle physical activity they encourage.

Dr Fancourt said: 'We were very pleasantly surprised by the results. Notably we find the same relationship between cultural engagement and depression amongst those of high and low wealth and of different levels of education - the only thing that differs is the frequency of participation.

'Cultural engagement is what we call a "perishable commodity". For it to have long-term benefits for mental health, we need to engage in activities regularly. This is similar to exercise: going for a run on the first of January won't still have benefits in October unless we keep going for runs.'

She added: 'Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people. If we are starting to feel low or isolated then cultural engagement is something simple that we can do to proactively help with our own mental health, before it gets to the point where we need professional medical help.'

Dr Amanda Thompsell, chair of the old age faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: 'This paper highlights the good news story that doing something enjoyable is not just for pleasure - it can be positively beneficial for older people's mental health. The findings suggest that engaging in regular cultural activities such as visiting the theater or cinema could be a way to reduce the risk of developing depression.

'However, such activities on their own won't treat depression. This requires an approach based on the use of talking therapies, complemented by the use of medication where an older person doesn't respond or when they have more severe depression.

'The College welcomes this paper and encourages further research into the important area of old age mental health.'



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Convulsions / Seizures / Fits - Symptom Evaluation
World Heart Day 2021 -
Are Black Foods the New Superfood?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Adolescence Depression Depression Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Andropause / Male Menopause Senior Health Facts Pregnancy and Complications Bereavement Holistic Management for Depression Tourette Syndrome Dealing with Menopause symptoms through lifestyle changes 

Recommended Reading
Senior Citizens Get Tech Savvy
By getting tech-savvy, senior citizens are fostering new engagements, bringing in positive change .....
Holistic Management for Depression
Depression is a common disorder and many worldwide suffer from depression. Early recognition of ......
Diseases Related to Old Age
Ageing is referred to the accumulation of changes that brings a person closer to death....
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Andropause / Male Menopause
Andropause or male menopause causing low libido in a man is due to decreasing level of male hormones...
Bereavement
Bereavement refers to grief, pain and sadness following the loss of a loved one, especially during t...
Dealing with Menopause symptoms through lifestyle changes
You can deal with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain and forgetfulness by making si...
Pregnancy and Complications
In-depth guide for expecting mothers to overcome health complications related to early or late pregn...
Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder wherein the affected person makes repetitive and s...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use