Healthy behaviours in music and non‐music performance students

Ginsborg, J. and Kreutz, G. and Thomas, M. and Williamon, A. (2009) Healthy behaviours in music and non‐music performance students. Health Education, 109 (3). pp. 242-258. ISSN 0965-4283


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to compare the self‐reported health‐promoting behaviours of music and non‐music performance students in higher education. It also seeks to determine the extent to which perceived health and self‐reported symptoms are associated with lifestyle, emotional affect state, self‐regulation and self‐efficacy. Design/methodology/approach: Music performance students from two conservatoires (n=198) and students of nursing and biomedical science (health students) from two universities (n=65) aged 18‐26 years completed the health‐promoting lifestyle inventory; the positive and negative affect, the self‐efficacy and the self‐regulation scales, as well as reporting their present health and completing an inventory of musculo‐ and non‐musculoskeletal health problems. Findings: Music performance students score lower than health students on health responsibility, physical activity and spiritual growth; also on self‐efficacy and self‐regulation. Music performance students rate their health, generally, worse than do health students, and report a wider variety of symptoms, which they rate as more severe than do health students. Perceived present health is most strongly correlated with reported healthy lifestyle. This in turn is associated with positive affect, self‐efficacy and self‐regulation. Research limitations/implications: This is a relatively small‐scale investigation of the health‐promoting behaviours and experiences of ill‐health reported by two groups of students following different programmes of study and with different career aspirations. Firm conclusions cannot therefore be drawn. Practical implications: While nursing and biomedical science students may be atypical in that they are likely to gain a greater awareness of health issues from their studies, it could be argued that music performance students need to adopt healthy lifestyles in order to reach their full potential as musicians, and health promotion should be part of their training. Originality/value: The interrelationships among lifestyle, physical health and psychological well‐being have been studied in a number of populations. The health‐promoting behaviours of music performance students in comparison with those of other students are of particular interest given the physical and emotional demands of expert music making.

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