Are variations in rates of attending cultural activities associated with population health in the United States?

BMC Public Health. 2007 Aug 31;7:226. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-7-226.


Background: Population studies conducted in Sweden have revealed an association between attendance at cultural activities and health. Using data from US residents, we examined whether the association could be observed in the US.

Methods: Participants in the current study included 1,244 individuals who participated in the 1998 General Social Survey.

Results: A significant association between cultural activities and self-reported health (SRH) was observed, even after controlling for age, gender, marital status, race, number of children, subjective social class, employment status, household income, and educational attainment. Specifically, the more cultural activities people reported attending, the better was their SRH.

Conclusion: The data confirm that an association between cultural activity and health is present in a US sample. The data do not mean that the association is causal, but they suggest that further longitudinal research is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Art*
  • Behavioral Research*
  • Culture*
  • Drama*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Leisure Activities / classification*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Values
  • United States