Perceptions of Stress and Mood Associated With Listening to Music in Daily Life During the COVID-19 Lockdown

Anja C. Feneberg, Ana Stijovic, Paul A.G. Forbes, Claus Lamm, Giulio Piperno, Ekaterina Pronizius, Giorgia Silani, Urs M. Nater

Importance: Music listening is a universal human experience. People of all ages and cultures often use music to reduce stress and improve mood, particularly in times of crisis. However, ecologically valid research examining the real-time association of music listening with stress and mood during the COVID-19 pandemic is scarce.
Objective: To explore the associations between listening to music and the perceptions of stress and mood using ecological momentary assessment during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Design, Setting, and Participants: In this cohort study conducted between April 1 and May 8, 2020, adults from the general population residing in Austria and Italy were prompted by an app on their smartphone to report data 5 times per day across 7 consecutive days. Participants provided data on their real-time and real-life experiences in their natural environment while strict lockdown measures were in place. Data analysis was performed from March 2021 to February 2022.
Exposures: Data on self-reported music listening were recorded by means of mobile-based assessments. Perceived chronic stress was assessed once at the end of the study
Main Outcomes and Measures: Perceptions of momentary stress and mood were measured using visual analog scales (score range, 0-100, where 0 indicates not at all and 100 indicates very much) by means of mobile app-based assessments. Results: The final sample comprised 711 participants (497 women [69.9%]; median age, 27.0 years [IQR, 24.0-36.0 years]). Participants provided a total of 19 641 data points, including 4677 music listening reports. Music listening was prospectively associated with lower momentary stress levels (β, -0.92; 95% CI, -1.80 to -0.04; P = .04) and improvements in mood valence (β, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.17-2.63; P < .001), especially if the music was perceived as happy. Individuals with higher levels of chronic stress reported improved mood valence after music listening (β, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.02-0.22; P = .02).
Conclusions and Relevance: The present findings suggest that music listening may be a means to modulate stress and mood during psychologically demanding periods. Individuals experiencing heightened momentary and/or chronic stress because of the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions might consider music as an easily accessible tool for the management of stress and mood in daily life.

Institut für Klinische und Gesundheitspsychologie, Institut für Psychologie der Kognition, Emotion und Methoden, Forschungsplattform The Stress of Life - Processes and Mechanisms underlying Everyday Life Stress
JAMA Network Open
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
501010 Klinische Psychologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 3 – Gesundheit und Wohlergehen
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