A study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open suggests that listening to music significantly lowered stress levels and improved mood among Austrian and Italian adults during lockdowns early in the pandemic.
University of Vienna researchers used a smartphone app to prompt 711 adults to report data on their mood and stress levels while listening to music during strict lockdowns 5 times a day from Apr 1 to May 8, 2020. Participants used visual analog scales to report their emotions on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 indicating "not at all" and 100 indicating "very much."
Median respondent age was 27.0 years, and 69.9% were women. Participants provided 19,641 total data points, including 4,677 music-listening reports.
'An easily accessible tool'
Listening to music was tied to lower momentary stress levels (β, −0.92) and improved mood (β, 1.90), particularly if listeners viewed the music as happy, even in those reporting higher levels of chronic stress (β, 0.12).
The authors noted that lockdown-linked social and economic disruption has been tied to stress, worry, and mental illness in the general population. "This disruption was aggravated by the fact that many leisure activities that were previously pursued to regulate stress and mood (eg, meeting friends, attending cultural events) were banned because of the lockdown," they wrote.
Music listening may be a means to modulate stress and mood during psychologically demanding periods.
Music, they said, is an easy, low-cost way to improve health and well-being during a crisis such as COVID-19.
"The present findings suggest that music listening may be a means to modulate stress and mood during psychologically demanding periods," the researchers wrote. "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."