When Music Speaks: Mental Health and Next Steps in the Danish Music Industry. Part 1 – Danish Music Creators’ Subjective Wellbeing and Mental Health

Musgrave, G., Gross, S. and Carney, D. 2023. When Music Speaks: Mental Health and Next Steps in the Danish Music Industry. Part 1 – Danish Music Creators’ Subjective Wellbeing and Mental Health. Copenhagen, Denmark Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10169748

TitleWhen Music Speaks: Mental Health and Next Steps in the Danish Music Industry. Part 1 – Danish Music Creators’ Subjective Wellbeing and Mental Health
AuthorsMusgrave, G., Gross, S. and Carney, D.
TypeProject report
Abstract

Executive Summary

This report contains findings based on the largest ever study of musicians’ and music creators’ mental health in Scandinavia, with 1865 survey respondents.
Across our whole sample of musicians and more broadly defined music-makers in Denmark, subjective wellbeing is estimated to be worse than the wider Danish population based on our best approximation, with young music creators and women particularly badly affected.
Denmark was reported as being the second ‘happiest country in the world’ by the World Happiness Report based on the Gallup World Poll in 2023. This headline figure was based on an average subjective life evaluation score amongst the Danish population of 7.586:

• Amongst our respondents, the average score was 6.511.
Statistical analysis shows this to be significantly lower (medium effect).
• For respondents under the age of 40 the average score was 5.92. Statistical analysis shows this to be significantly lower (large effect).

A report by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018 suggested that 3% of the Danish population were ‘suffering’, 5.1% were ‘struggling’, and 91.9% were ‘thriving’.

Our sample of Danish musicians and music creators found the following statistics:
• 17.3% of respondents were ‘suffering’ - more than 5x (476%) higher than the wider population in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Report.
• 24.2% of respondents were ‘struggling’ - almost 5x (374.5%) higher than the wider population.
• 58.6% of respondents were ‘thriving’ – 36% less than the wider population.

The findings for our respondents under the age of 40 are particularly stark:
• 22.8% of respondents under the age of 40 were ‘suffering’. This is nearly 7x (660%) higher than the wider population.
• 35% of respondents under the age of 40 were ‘struggling’. This is nearly 7x (586%) higher than the wider population.
• 42.2% of respondents were thriving – 54% less than the wider population.

Overall, all groups in our sample are considerably more likely to be classified as ‘suffering’ or ‘struggling’, and considerably less likely to be classified as ‘thriving’ than those in the wider Danish population as per data from the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Levels of anxiety are high amongst our sample:
• 45.8% received scores indicating abnormal levels of anxiety.

However, age is significant variable here:
• For survey respondents under the age of 40, 68.7% received scores indicating abnormal levels of anxiety, with 42.8% reaching the threshold of clinical significance.
• Anxiety was seen to be most acute in the age band 25-29 years
. For those in this age band, 78.2% received scores indicating abnormal levels of anxiety, with 49.1% showing clinically significant anxiety, of which 15.5% scored severe, clinically significant, anxiety.

Gender is also a significant variable:
• For female respondents, 65.4% received scores indicating abnormal levels of anxiety (of which 41.2% reached the threshold of clinical significance) compared to 39.1% for men.

Of those respondents who can be categorised as having abnormal anxiety, 61% of these considered music as their main career. This suggests, in line with other global studies, that the music career itself is a significant factor.

KeywordsMusic Careers
Musicians Mental Health
Musical Labour
Anxiety
Wellbeing
Year2023
PublisherDanish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music
Place of publicationCopenhagen, Denmark
Publication dates
Published28 Nov 2023
ProjectMusicians’ Mental Health: What Works, What Now?
FunderKODA
File
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Web address (URL)https://musiklivetspartnerskab.dk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Musgrave-Gross-Carney-2023-When-Music-Speaks-Part-1.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10169748

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