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OP19 Longitudinal associations between arts engagement and flourishing in late adolescents and young adults: a fixed effects analysis of the panel study of income dynamics
  1. Jessica Bone1,
  2. Feifei Bu1,
  3. Jill Sonke2,
  4. Daisy Fancourt1
  1. 1Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, US


Background There is growing evidence for the impact of arts engagement on flourishing. However, social gradients in arts engagement and flourishing may have led to an overestimation of this impact, and there is a lack of longitudinal research in young people. We aimed to test the longitudinal associations between arts engagement and flourishing in adolescence, accounting for observed and unobserved individual characteristics.

Methods We included 3,333 participants aged 18–28 from the Transition into Adulthood Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which included a nationally representative sample of young people in the United States. Participants completed waves biennially from 2005 to 2019. In every wave, a 14-item Languishing-Flourishing scale measured flourishing across three wellbeing domains: emotional (feeling satisfied and interested in life), psychological (feeling autonomy and mastery), and social (feeling part of a positive community). Frequency of engagement in any artistic, musical, or theatrical organized activities was measured in every wave (never, monthly, daily, weekly). We analyzed data using fixed effects regression and Arellano-Bond estimators to control for bidirectional relationships, and adjusted for time-varying demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related factors.

Results Increases in arts engagement were associated with increases in flourishing in a dose-response relationship. Changing from never to weekly engagement was associated with a 0.28 point (95% CI=0.13–0.44) increase in flourishing and changing from never to daily engagement was associated with a 0.45 point (95% CI=0.22–0.68) increase in flourishing after adjustment for time-varying confounders. This relationship was driven by enhanced psychological (adjusted daily coef=0.14, 95% CI=0.04–0.23) and social wellbeing (adjusted daily coef=0.22, 95% CI=0.10–0.33). Controlling for bidirectionality, increases in arts engagement predicted subsequent improvements in flourishing (adjusted daily coef=1.26, 95% CI=0.25–2.27) and social wellbeing (adjusted daily coef=0.80, 95% CI=0.15–1.44). In sensitivity analyses, residential area was a moderator; arts engagement was only associated with flourishing in metropolitan (and not non-metropolitan) areas.

Conclusion Weekly or daily arts engagement is associated with enhanced concurrent and subsequent flourishing within individuals. This associations occurs mainly through enhanced social wellbeing and holds across many subgroups of late adolescents and young adults, although those in non-metropolitan areas may have fewer opportunities for arts engagement. Next, more specific definitions of arts engagement should be explored, enabling identification of the active ingredients that influence flourishing. Future work must also consider how funding can be distributed to ensure that the arts are accessible across communities and geographical areas, providing all young people with opportunities to experience their potential benefits.

  • adolescence
  • arts
  • wellbeing

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