Religious Music Is Linked To Better Mental Health in Older Christians
In the past, research has shown that music can have incredible healing qualities, especially for the brain. One study showed that individuals with moderate to severe dementia saw a significant boost in their cognitive abilities after singing their favorite songs. Now, a more recent study shows that certain genres of music, specifically religious and gospel, are able to increase the mental health of older Christians.
The study, published in The Gerontologist, associates listening to religious music to a decrease in anxiety, especially about death, and an increase in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over their lives in older individuals. The 1,024 participants were either black, white, or non-institutionalized, English speaking individuals of at least 65-years-old. All participants were currently practicing Christianity, identified as Christian, or did not affiliate with any faith at any point in their lives.
Participants were surveyed on how often they listened to both religious music and gospel music on a scale ranging from “never” to “several times a day”, and the researchers measured how strongly the patients responded to a series of statements. The statements included “I find it hard to face up to the fact that I will die,” “These are the best years of my life,” “I take a positive attitude towards myself,” and “I have a lot of influence over most things that happen in my life.”
The researchers saw that the frequency of listening to religious music was associated with decreases in fears about death, and increases in attitudes about life, self-worth, and feelings of control. The frequency of listening to gospel music was especially linked to a decrease in death anxiety and increase in self of control.