• A group singing program improves quality of life: An international study

      Irons, J. Yoon; Hancox, Grenville; Vella-Burrows, Trish; Han, E-Y; Chong, H-J; Sheffield, David; Stewart, Donald E; Health and Social Care Research Centre, University of Derby (University of Derby, 2019-06-05)
      People with Parkinson’s (PwPs) may experience stigma, isolation, stress and anxiety due to the chronic nature of Parkinson’s. Complementary therapies, including singing, have been reported to impact positively on quality of life (QoL) in PwPs. This paper reports on an international trial of Sing to Beat Parkinson’s®, a community group singing program, involving PwPs from Australia, the UK, and South Korea on QoL and mental well-being. PwPs (N=95; mean age=70.26; male 45%) participated in a standardized 6-month weekly group singing program, which included breathing exercises, vocal warm-ups and preferred song singing. PDQ39 and modified DASS21 were administered at baseline and follow-up to assess QoL and mental well-being, respectively. MANOVA and ANOVAs were performed with significance set as p<.05. MANOVA showed statistically significant multivariate effects of Time, Country, Time by Country and Time by Gender interactions on QoL. Follow-up univariate ANOVAs revealed main effects of Time on Stigma and Social Support domains of QoL; both improved. Further, MANOVA revealed a multivariate effect of Time on mental well-being; anxiety and stress significantly decreased from pre-test to post-test. This first international singing study with PwPs demonstrated that group singing enhanced some aspects of quality of life and mental well-being. Participating in a weekly group singing program for a 6-month period impacted positively on social support, and feeling stigmatized, as well as reductions in anxiety and stress. The findings are encouraging and warrant further research using more robust designs that include comparator groups.