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Cultural participation and all-cause mortality, with possible gender differences: an 8-year follow-up in the HUNT Study, Norway
  1. B I Løkken1,2,
  2. D Merom3,
  3. E R Sund1,2,4,
  4. S Krokstad2,4,5,
  5. V Rangul1,2,5
  1. 1 The Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Nord Universitet - Levanger Campus, Levanger, Norway
  2. 2 HUNT Research Centre, Department of Public Health and Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Levanger, Norway
  3. 3 School of Health Science, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 Levanger Hospital, Nord-Trøndelags Hospital Trust, Levanger, Norway
  5. 5 Norwegian Resource Centre for Arts and Health, Nord University, Levanger, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Bente Irene Løkken, Nord University, Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Levanger, Norway; bente.i.lokken{at}


Background Cultural activities can promote health and longevity, but longitudinal studies examining a broad spectrum of participation are scarce. This study investigated the gender-specific association between all-causes of mortality and participation in single types of cultural activities, amount and participation frequency.

Methods We used cohort data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT Study), Norway (2006–2008), resulting in 35 902 participants, aged 20 and above. Cultural participation in receptive and creative activities was measured. HRs were reported for partially and fully adjusted models.

Results A total of 1905 participants died during the median 8-year follow-up. Mortality risk was higher for non-participants in any receptive or creative activities, except sport event attendees. Gender association was also evaluated: among men, we found similar results as above except for parish work, while women increased their longevity only through creative activity participation. When a number of receptive activities was associated with all-cause mortality, reduced risk occurred with attendance in 2 or 3–4 activities (21% and 31%, respectively). Risk was reduced through creative activities, with participation in 3–5 activities (43%). Gender-specific analyses showed a clear gradient of protective effect in creative activity participation: for men, 28%, 44% and 44% reduction with 1, 2 or 3–5 activities, respectively, and a 28%, 35% and 44% reduction for women.

Conclusion Frequently attending at least one cultural activity influenced longevity. Creative activities lowered mortality in both genders, while receptive activity benefits were mostly found for men. Thus, promoting and facilitating engaged cultural lifestyles are vital for longevity.

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  • Contributors VR and SK conceived and designed the study. VR supervised the study, drafted the results and assisted in the interpretation and implications. DM and BIL contribute in designing, analysing and interpretation of results and drafted the introduction, methods, results and the discussion. ERS assisted in the statistical analysis, drafted the methods and interpretation and presentation of the result. SK asisted in interpretation and editing. BIL is responsible for the overall content. All authors read and revised drafts for important contents and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding PhD student Bente Irene Løkken was funded by Nord University. The Norwegian Resource Centre for Arts and Health founded all aspects of the data.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Data sharing statement Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.