If You’re Happy and You Know It: Music Engagement and Subjective Wellbeing

Melissa K. Weinberg
Dawn Joseph


Experiencing and engaging with music have been fundamental to all societies across the ages. This study explores the connection between habitual music engagement and subjective wellbeing. Subjective wellbeing (SWB) comprises individual evaluations of life satisfaction, and is internationally regarded at policy and government levels. The present study uses data gathered in 2014 as part of the 31st survey of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index to provide insight into the relationship between music engagement and SWB. A stratified random sample of 1,000 participants was interviewed via telephone. The findings revealed that engaging with music by dancing or attending musical events was associated with higher SWB than for those who did not engage with music in these forms. The findings also emphasised the important role of engaging with music in the company of others with regard to SWB, highlighting an interpersonal feature of music. The study provides an overview of the general relationship between music and SWB at a population level, by contrast to most research in the area that has focused on evaluating clinical interventions involving music. The insight gained from these findings can be used to inform future interventions and to better understand how music is involved in emotional regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)