Museums are good for your health (ctd.)

Museums are good for your health (ctd.) June 23 2022 Picture: Hyperallergic via Flickr An article by Elaine Velie in Hyperallergic alerts me to a new paper in the Journal of Positive Psychology setting out how visiting a museum is good for your mental health. The paper is a reviewing paper, that is, it surveys existing studies, and has not made any new findings itself. But overall the picture is pretty clear that museums are good for us. But you and I knew this already. One interesting snippet was the effect museums had on stress: Several studies have examined the effects of visiting the art museum on clinical and self-report indices of mental and physical health. A common focus has been on the ability of art museum visits to reduce stress. Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress responses, is commonly used as a biological marker of people’s stress levels (Clow, 2004). Several studies have observed changes in cortisol after visiting an art museum (Clow & Fredhoi, 2006; D’Cunha et al., 2019; Grossi et al., 2019). In nonclinical samples, cortisol reductions were observed after a single art museum visit (Clow & Fredhoi, 2006; Grossi et al., 2019); Clow and Fredhoi (2006) also observed reductions in self- reported stress levels. Researchers have also examined stress responses to art museum visits in people living with dementia and found that repeated art museum engagement, involving both weekly art viewing and art making for 6 weeks, resulted in more dynamic cortisol responses (D’Cunha et al., 2019). Further, engaging in art museum activities has been associated with feeling restored in an elementary school student sample (Annechini et al., 2020) and in decreased emotional exhaustion and depersonalization in medical residents (Orr et al., 2019). You can read the full paper here.

Museums are good for your health (ctd.)

Museums are good for your health (ctd.)

June 23 2022

Image of Museums are good for your health (ctd.)

Picture: Hyperallergic via Flickr

An article by Elaine Velie in Hyperallergic alerts me to a new paper in the Journal of Positive Psychology setting out how visiting a museum is good for your mental health. The paper is a reviewing paper, that is, it surveys existing studies, and has not made any new findings itself. But overall the picture is pretty clear that museums are good for us. But you and I knew this already.

One interesting snippet was the effect museums had on stress:

Several studies have examined the effects of visiting the art museum on clinical and self-report indices of mental and physical health. A common focus has been on the ability of art museum visits to reduce stress. Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress responses, is commonly used as a biological marker of people’s stress levels (Clow, 2004). Several studies have observed changes in cortisol after visiting an art museum (Clow & Fredhoi, 2006; D’Cunha et al., 2019; Grossi et al., 2019). In nonclinical samples, cortisol reductions were observed after a single art museum visit (Clow & Fredhoi, 2006; Grossi et al., 2019); Clow and Fredhoi (2006) also observed reductions in self- reported stress levels. Researchers have also examined stress responses to art museum visits in people living with dementia and found that repeated art museum engagement, involving both weekly art viewing and art making for 6 weeks, resulted in more dynamic cortisol responses (D’Cunha et al., 2019). Further, engaging in art museum activities has been associated with feeling restored in an elementary school student sample (Annechini et al., 2020) and in decreased emotional exhaustion and depersonalization in medical residents (Orr et al., 2019).

You can read the full paper here.