Knit One, Play One: Comparing the Effects of Amateur Knitting and Amateur Music Participation on Happiness and Wellbeing


Applied Research in Quality of Life




Previous research suggests that engaging in creative and meaningful leisure activities enhances mental health, wellbeing and quality of life. However, studies often explore specific creative activities in isolation. We compared happiness and wellbeing in adults involved in knitting (835 amateur knitters) and musical activities (122 amateur musicians). Participants completed the Subjective Happiness Scale, the BBC Subjective Wellbeing scale, and open-ended questions about past and current engagement. Knitters scored significantly higher on happiness than musicians. No differences were found for subjective wellbeing. Older participants scored more highly on all wellbeing measures, with no effect of time doing the activity. Open-ended responses were grouped into four themes. Learning and teaching was oriented towards communities of practice for knitters and formal teaching for musicians. Process involved positive and negative emotions, grouped around subthemes of self-care and sensory experiences. Outcome was associated with connections to others, expressed through pride or anxiety. Purpose linked to a sense of fulfilment, identity, and obsession. Despite differences between the activities, participants experienced broadly similar physical, psychological and social benefits. Further research should explore more creative and non-creative leisure activities to establish if these effects can be generalised and what other unique features may be involved. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Interpersonal Relations; Mental Health; Playing an Instrument; Quality of Life; Recreative Music Methods; Social Isolation; Subjective Reports; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

music making; knitting; wellbeing; happiness; eudaimonia; PERMA; Creativity; Leisure Time; Well Being; Musicians; Self-Care

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type