Are variations in rates of attending cultural activities associated with population health in the United States?

Wilkinson, Anna V.; Waters, Andrew J.; Bygren, Lars Olov; Tarlov, Alvin R.
January 2007
BMC Public Health;2007, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p226
Academic Journal
Background: Population studies conducted in Sweden have revealed an association between attendance at cultural activities and health. Using data from US residents, we examined whether the association could be observed in the US. Methods: Participants in the current study included 1,244 individuals who participated in the 1998 General Social Survey. Results: A significant association between cultural activities and self-reported health (SRH) was observed, even after controlling for age, gender, marital status, race, number of children, subjective social class, employment status, household income, and educational attainment. Specifically, the more cultural activities people reported attending, the better was their SRH. Conclusion: The data confirm that an association between cultural activity and health is present in a US sample. The data do not mean that the association is causal, but they suggest that further longitudinal research is warranted.


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