Using Self-determination Theory to Examine Musical Participation and Well-being


Frontiers in Psychology




A recent surge of research has begun to examine music participation and well-being; however, a particular challenge with this work concerns theorizing around the associated well-being benefits of musical participation. Thus, the current research used Self-Determination Theory to consider the potential associations between basic psychological needs (competence, relatedness, and autonomy), self-determined autonomous motivation, and the perceived benefits to well-being controlling for demographic variables and the musical activity parameters. A sample of 192 Australian residents (17–85, Mage = 36.95), who were currently participating in a musical activity at the time, completed an online questionnaire. Results indicated that females were more likely to perceive benefits to their well-being; and that how important an individual considers music in their life was positively related to perceived well-being. Importantly, the analyses also revealed that the basic needs of competency and relatedness were related to overall perceived well-being as well as specifically social, cognitive, and esteem dimensions of well-being. Autonomous motivation demonstrated significant associations with both an overall well-being score as well as four of five specific well-being subscales measured. Collectively, the findings indicate that Self-Determination Theory offers a useful theoretical framework to understanding the relationship between musical participation and well-being. Further, the pattern of findings reiterates the positive associations between musical participation and one’s psychosocial well-being, with broad implications for people involved in the facilitation of musical activity. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Engagement Level; Mental Health; Questionnaires; Recreative Music Methods; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

musical participation; well-being; Self-Determination Theory; psychological needs; motivation; competence; relatedness; autonomy; Self-Determination; Well Being; Participation

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

Document Type