Music listening and emotional well-being

Nikki Sue Rickard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Other

9 Citations (Scopus)


Enhancing emotional well-being is one of the primary goals of listening to music. People report listening to music for a range of emotional purposes, including to 'feel better', to reduce stress, to become energized, for great pleasure, and for the intensity of the emotional experience. The evidence that music listening is effective in enhancing positive affect is however dispersed across numerous methodological domains. This chapter will attempt to integrate these data and critically review the claim that music listening can enhance emotional well-being. An evidence based approach will be taken by operationalizing emotional well-being via subjective and physiological indices of positive and negative affective experience. The capacity of experimental exposure to music and everyday music listening, as well as more intentional music listening, to elicit reliable changes in affective state will be assessed. It is concluded that there is substantial support for the efficacy of music listening in improving positive affect, with the most convincing accounts provided by convergent physiological and subjective data. The potential for music to be used in positive interventions is promising, particular when listening is purposeful and of the listener's choice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLifelong Engagement with Music: Benefits for Mental Health and Well-Being
EditorsNikki S Rickard, Katrina McFerran
Place of PublicationHauppauge NY United States
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)978-1-61122-240-1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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