A1 Journal article (refereed)
Beneficial effects of choir singing on cognition and well-being of older adults : Evidence from a cross-sectional study (2021)

Pentikäinen, E., Pitkäniemi, A., Siponkoski, S.-T., Jansson, M., Louhivuori, J., Johnson, J. K., Paajanen, T., & Särkämö, T. (2021). Beneficial effects of choir singing on cognition and well-being of older adults : Evidence from a cross-sectional study. PLoS ONE, 16(2), Article e0245666. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245666

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Pentikäinen, Emmi; Pitkäniemi, Anni; Siponkoski, Sini-Tuuli; Jansson, Maarit; Louhivuori, Jukka; Johnson, Julene K.; Paajanen, Teemu; Särkämö, Teppo

Journal or series: PLoS ONE

eISSN: 1932-6203

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 16

Issue number: 2

Article number: e0245666

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245666

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74336


Background and objectives: Choir singing has been associated with better mood and quality of life (QOL) in healthy older adults, but little is known about its potential cognitive benefits in aging. In this study, our aim was to compare the subjective (self-reported) and objective (test-based) cognitive functioning of senior choir singers and matched control subjects, coupled with assessment of mood, QOL, and social functioning.

Research design and methods: We performed a cross-sectional questionnaire study in 162 healthy older (age ≥ 60 years) adults (106 choir singers, 56 controls), including measures of cognition, mood, social engagement, QOL, and role of music in daily life. The choir singers were divided to low (1-10 years, N = 58) and high (>10 years, N = 48) activity groups based on years of choir singing experience throughout their life span. A subcohort of 74 participants (39 choir singers, 35 controls) were assessed also with a neuropsychological testing battery.

Results: In the neuropsychological testing, choir singers performed better than controls on the verbal flexibility domain of executive function, but not on other cognitive domains. In questionnaires, high activity choir singers showed better social integration than controls and low activity choir singers. In contrast, low activity choir singers had better general health than controls and high activity choir singers.

Discussion and implications: In healthy older adults, regular choir singing is associated with better verbal flexibility. Long-standing choir activity is linked to better social engagement and more recently commenced choir activity to better general health.

Keywords: senior citizens; music as recreation; choir singing; health benefits; mental well-being; cognitive skills

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 17:56