Group singing improves quality of life for people with Parkinson’s: an international study

J. Yoon Irons, Grenville Hancox, Trish Vella-Burrows, Eun Young Han, Hyun Ju Chong, David Sheffield, Donald E. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: Group singing has been reported to enhance quality of life (QoL) and mental health in older people. This paper explored whether there are differences in the effects of group singing intervention on people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) in Australia, UK and South Korea. Methods: The study included PwPs (N = 95; mean age = 70.26; male 45%) who participated in a standardised 6-month weekly group singing programme. Parkinson’s health-related QoL measure (PDQ39) and mental health assessment (DASS) were administered at baseline and follow-up. ANOVAs were performed with significance set as p <.05. Results: ANOVAs revealed main effects of Time on the Stigma and Social Support subscales of PDQ39; both showed a small but significant improvement over time. However, the social support reduction was moderated by country; social support was improved only in South Korean participants. The reduction in stigma was greater than previously reported minimal clinically important differences, as was the social support reduction in South Korean participants. In terms of mental health, ANOVAs revealed that the scores of Anxiety and Stress domains of DASS significantly decreased from pre-test to post-test with small effect sizes. Conclusion: This first international singing study with PwPs demonstrated that group singing can reduce stigma, anxiety and stress and enhance social support in older adults living with Parkinson’s. The findings are encouraging and warrant further research using more robust designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-656
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was in part supported by Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, the Griffith University School of Medicine Research Support internal funding as well as the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University. UK singing groups were supported by Canterbury Cantata Trust and funding from the Aviva Community Fund and the Bernard Sunley Trust. We would like to thank our participants, their carers and family members. We also thank group singing facilitators and colleagues who supported our study at the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre in Australia; at Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in the UK; Ewah Woman’s University Music Therapy Wellness clinic in South Korea. The current study’s findings were presented as a poster at the 5th World Parkinson’s Congress in June 3–7 in Japan.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Group singing
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • mental Health
  • quality of life


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