Evidence Summary for Policy: The role of arts in improving health & wellbeing

Evidence Summary for Policy: The role of arts in improving health & wellbeing

Report to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, United Kingdom, April 2020

Dr Daisy Fancourt, Katey Warran & Henry Aughterson

Department of Behavioural Science & Health, University College of London


This evidence summary has been commissioned by DCMS in response to the World Health Organisation report published in November 2019 entitled “What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing?” (1). This report synthesised the findings from over 3,500 studies on the role of the arts in the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan. The reviewed evidence included study designs such as randomized controlled studies, nationally-representative longitudinal cohort studies, community- wide ethnographies, cross-sectional surveys, laboratory experiments, and case studies. The WHO report also made a series of policy suggestions to countries globally. However, the WHO report is a high-level evidence synthesis, so the details of studies included and assessments of the quality of the evidence base included is currently unclear.




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