Feeling the Beat and Feeling Better: Musical Experience, Emotional Reflection, and Music as a Technology of Mental Health


Sociological Inquiry




Using data from the 1999 Arts and Religion Survey, this article builds on the work of Tia DeNora and the understanding of music as a technology of health by focusing on an important aspect of music’s impact on mental health, emotional reflection. The study first examines the relationship between musical experiences and the perceived effectiveness of music as a coping tool in everyday life. The results indicate that musical experience is positively associated with the perception of music as an effective coping mechanism, controlling for relevant demographic and artistic factors included in the survey. The analysis then assesses the relationship between music’s perceived effectiveness as a coping mechanism and emotional reflection, indicating a positive association between the two. Aesthetic disposition and parental education are also positive predictors of using music to cope and emotional reflection. The study demonstrates that those who value music as a means of coping may be more emotionally reflective and in turn, experience benefits related to positive mental health. The results also highlight the importance of considering both micro- and macro-theoretical approaches to understanding musical practices and their role in health improvement. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Coping; Emotional Functioning; Mental Health; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

musical experience; emotional reflection; technology; mental health; coping; Coping Behavior; Emotions

Study Type

Phenomenological Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type