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To muse beyond formal music training: the development and use of a measure of music engagement in everyday life

posted on 31.01.2017, 01:08 by Chin, Tan Chyuan
Music is a highly engaging activity, which serves various functions for individuals. Of particular interest here is the use of music to enhance mental health and well-being. To date, research on the benefits of music has been primarily focused on individuals with music training. The first aim of this research was to extend the concept of musicianship, to operationalize and develop a measure of both music production and music reception. The second aim was to explore well-being outcomes of music use, and identify music engagement factors predicting better health and well-being. The aims were achieved in a series of studies. Having identified a need for a comprehensive measure of musicianship in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 described the development of the multi-dimensional construct of music engagement. The Music USE (MUSE) questionnaire was then used to investigate music uses and their associated well-being (Chapter 4) and psychopathology (Chapter 5) outcomes, with emotion regulation identified as a key mediator of these relationships. Music engagement for the purposes of cognitive and emotional regulation was found to be consistently associated with, and predictive of, subjective indices of adaptive emotion regulation and improved well-being. Chapter 6 described the final study, which utilized neurobiological indices of well-being and emotion regulation capacity to validate links found between subjective self-reports of well-being and music use for cognitive and emotional regulation. Collectively, these studies demonstrated that benefits associated with music engagement are mediated by emotion regulation styles, and highlight the need to consider emotion regulation when evaluating the impact of music engagement on mental health and well-being. Furthermore, this research emphasized the importance of considering the multidimensionality of musicianship, beyond a numerical index of music training or instrument playing, when assessing the impact of music on health and well-being. This thesis provides a foundation for future work on the use of music to promote adaptive emotion regulation for the purposes of improving mental health and well-being.


Principal supervisor

Nikki Rickard

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Psychological sciences

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences