A Review of Hip Hop-based Interventions for Health Literacy, Health Behaviors, and Mental Health

C. Robinson
E. L. Seaman
L. Montgomery
A. Winfrey


OBJECTIVE: African-American children and adolescents experience an undue burden of disease for many health outcomes compared to their White peers. More research needs to be completed for this priority population to improve their health outcomes and ameliorate health disparities. Integrating hip hop music or hip hop dance into interventions may help engage African-American youth in health interventions and improve their health outcomes. We conducted a review of the literature to characterize hip hop interventions and determine their potential to improve health. METHODS: We searched Web of Science, Scopus, PsycINFO, and EMBASE to identify studies that assessed hip hop interventions. To be included, studies had to (1) be focused on a psychosocial or physical health intervention that included hip hop and (2) present quantitative data assessing intervention outcomes. Twenty-three articles were identified as meeting all inclusion criteria and were coded by two reviewers. Articles were assessed with regards to sample characteristics, study design, analysis, intervention components, and results. RESULTS: Hip hop interventions have been developed to improve health literacy, health behavior, and mental health. The interventions were primarily targeted to African-American and Latino children and adolescents. Many of the health literacy and mental health studies used non-experimental study designs. Among the 12 (of 14) health behavior studies that used experimental designs, the association between hip hop interventions and positive health outcomes was inconsistent. CONCLUSIONS: The number of experimental hip hop intervention studies is limited. Future research is required to determine if hip hop interventions can promote health.