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What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review

Author(s)

FANCOURT Daisy, FINN Saoirse

Publisher(s):

World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe

Publication year:

2019

This scoping review maps the current evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being, with a specific focus on the WHO European Region. Over 900 publications were identified, including reviews, systematic reviews, metaanalyses and meta-syntheses covering over 3000 studies, and over 700 further individual studies. Overall, the findings demonstrated that the arts can play a major role in the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan. Within prevention and promotion, findings showed how the arts can: affect the social determinants of health, support child development, encourage health-promoting behaviours, help to prevent ill health and support caregiving. Within management and treatment, findings showed how the arts can: help people experiencing mental illness; support care for people with acute conditions; and support end-of-life care. The report raises policy considerations relevant to the cultural and the health and social care sectors. It concludes that the beneficial impact of the arts could be furthered through acknowledging and acting on the growing evidence base; promoting arts engagement at the individual, local and national levels; and supporting cross-sectoral collaboration. (Edited publisher abstract)


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