Listening to music helped people cope with Covid-19 lockdown, study finds

Listening to music helped people to feel connected and gave them a sense of normality during the isolation of the first Covid-19 lockdown, research has found. 

A survey that explored how people engaged with listening to music – alone or with others – during the first wave of Covid discovered music could be used as a coping strategy during times of heightened anxiety and social isolation. 

An article in the Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing, by Leeds School of Psychology PhD student Cristina Harney, co-authored by Psychology Associate Professors Dr Jelena Havelka and Dr Judith Johnson and Dr Freya Bailes, Associate Professor in Leeds’ School of Music, says listening to music can be used as a tool to regulate emotions. 

The multinational study saw 196 participants from 24 countries complete a survey between July and August 2020 about how they engaged with music during the pandemic and how it related to anxiety in isolation. 

Using music to connect in lockdown

Shared music listening experiences were found to evoke positivity, connectedness and a sense of normality for listeners, while 60 per cent of those surveyed said music was used to improve their mood during lockdown.  

One survey response said listening to music with someone else ‘...made me feel happy and closer to her now that we are in different cities because of Covid.’

Listening to calming songs and nostalgic music also helped to ease anxiety, the study found.  

Understanding the role of music listening during this time can help us to identify key factors for future therapeutic interventions such as encouraging adaptive uses of music listening during times of heightened anxiety or social isolation. 

‘Lockdown music listening: A mixed methods, multinational study exploring social uses of music listening and anxiety during social distancing in the first wave of COVID-19’, was published in the Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing (Summer 2022). 

Read the article in full via Google Cloud

Picture via Unsplash/Kelvin Lutan.