Concerts, Plays Can Reduce Depression in 50+ Crowd

February 7, 2019

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Arunesh K. Mishra, M.D. contributes to topics such as Behavioral Health.

Over 50 and like staying active? Good, because attending events, such as concerts or plays, at cultural venues could reduce your chances of becoming depressed.

People who attended plays, exhibitions and other events at cultural locations every few months had a 32 percent lower risk for developing depression, a new study found. Those who ventured out once a month or more had a 48 percent lower risk, according to a report in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

A team from University College London who conducted the research did so because there was little known about how cultural activities could impact health. They wanted to see if a museum jaunt or a concert could have health benefits similar to proven methods such as eating well and exercising.

Cultural Events Count for Better Health

They examined information from more than 2,000 people who were over the age of 50. When they analyzed information from questionnaires and interviews over a 10-year span, they said the benefits of cultural activities were clear. This stayed true even when they adjusted for differences in age, gender, education, wealth and health status. The benefits were also independent of whether or not people had contact with friends and family, or whether they participated in social activities.

What makes cultural activities and attractions so great for our health? It’s likely the combination of social interaction, creativity, mental stimulation and gentle physical activity, the researchers claim.

Though attending an art show or a concert is not known to formally treat depression, it can definitely help you feel better if you already experience depression.

“Attending an event can often have a positive effect on someone who may be depressed, too,” said Arunesh K. Mishra, M.D., a board certified psychiatrist with Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group. “Depending on what you enjoy, seeing something that brings you joy or hearing uplifting music can help you feel good. Plus, having regular outings scheduled of things you like can go a long way to help you stay positive because it gives you something to look forward to.”

Dr. Mishra practices in Perth Amboy, NJ. Make an appointment by calling 732-324-5138. To find a provider near you, visit

Discover upcoming shows at the Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre at the Count Basie Center for the Arts by visiting

The British Journal of Psychiatry

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