Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.25 9 Jul 2019


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A new study has found listening to music can help to reduce stress and boost positive emotions, especially in older adults.

Research by Queen's University Belfast has revealed that no matter what age an adult is, music helps to lower stress levels.

However, older adults had greater stress reduction than younger adults.

This study examined age group differences in stress reduction by music listening for the first time.

The research trial was carried out on 40 younger adults, aged between 18 to 30, and 40 older adults, aged between 60 to 81.

Before visiting the lab, participants created playlists of music they would listen to in stressful situations.

When they got to the lab they were told they would have to deliver a speech which would be video recorded and evaluated, heightening stress levels.

Half of the group then listened to their playlist of self-chosen music, while the other half listened to a radio documentary.

Stress reduction was greater in the group listening to music.

Older adults also showed greater stress reduction in both conditions - listening to self-chosen music and listening to a radio documentary.

Dr Jenny Groarke, from the university's School of Psychology, explains: "Music listening makes up a large part of many people's everyday lives.

"University students spend up to four hours a day listening to music and 64% of adults aged 65-75 report listening at least once a day.

"The prevalence of stress and anxiety today, particularly in young people is of growing concern.

"There is a need for easily accessible, cost-effective interventions for stress management.

"The results of this study support the idea that listening to music supports coping with stress across the lifespan.

"This study also offers important insights into the effects of music on older adults, who have rarely been included in previous research on music listening."

Dr Groarke continues: "The results indicate that personal music listening can support stress management for both younger and older adults.

"However, the fact that older adults showed greater stress reduction when listening to self-chosen music and when listening to a radio documentary also supports existing theory that emotion regulation abilities develop over time and improve with age."


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Dr Jenny Groarke Listening To Music Older Adults Queen's University Belfast Reduce Stress School Of Psychology Stress Relief Stressful Situations

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