International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Quality of life (QOL) of older adult community choral singers in Finland

Julene K. Johnsona1 c1, Jukka Louhivuoria2, Anita L. Stewarta1, Asko Tolvanena3, Leslie Rossa1 and Pertti Eraa4

a1 Institute for Health & Aging, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA

a2 Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä FI-40014, Finland

a3 Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä FI-40014, Finland

a4 GeroCenter Foundation, Jyväskylä, Finland and Department of Rehabilitation, Central Finland Health Care District, Jyväskylä FI-40014, Finland


Background: Enhancing quality of life (QOL) of older adults is an international area of focus. Identifying factors and experiences that contribute to QOL of older adults helps promote optimal levels of functioning. This study examines the relationship between perceived benefits associated with choral singing and QOL among community-dwelling older adults.

Methods: One hundred seventeen older adults who sing in community choirs in Jyväskylä, Finland, completed self-report measures of QOL (WHOQOL-Bref), depressive symptoms, and a questionnaire about the benefits of singing in choir. Correlational analyses and linear regression models were used to examine the association between the benefits of singing in choir and QOL.

Results: Both correlation and regression analyses found significant relationships between the benefits of choral singing and three QOL domains: psychological, social relationships, and environment. These associations remained significant after adjusting for age and depressive symptoms. As hypothesized, older choral singers who reported greater benefits of choir singing had higher QOL in multiple domains. The older choral singers in the study also reported few symptoms of depression and high overall QOL and satisfaction with health.

Conclusion: Results suggest that singing in a community choir as an older adult may positively influence several aspects of QOL. These results suggest that community choral singing may be one potential avenue for promoting QOL in older adults.

(Received December 06 2012)

(Reviewed February 04 2013)

(Revised February 28 2013)

(Accepted March 04 2013)

(Online publication April 11 2013)

Key words:

  • music;
  • choir;
  • quality of life;
  • aging


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Julene K. Johnson, PhD, UCSF Institute for Health & Aging, 3333 California St., Suite 340, San Francisco, CA 94118-1944, USA. Phone: +1-415-476-1106; Fax: +1-415-502-5206. Email: