Effects of a museum-based social-prescription intervention on quantitative measures of psychological wellbeing in older adults

Thomson, L., Lockyer, B., Camic, Paul M. and Chaterjee, H.J. (2017) Effects of a museum-based social-prescription intervention on quantitative measures of psychological wellbeing in older adults. Perspectives in Public Health. ISSN 1757-9139.

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Aims: To assess psychological wellbeing in a novel social prescription intervention for older adults called Museums on Prescription, and to explore the extent of change over time in six self-rated emotions (‘absorbed, ‘active’, ‘cheerful’, ‘encouraged’, ‘enlightened’ and ‘inspired’).

Methods: Participants (n=115) aged 65-94 were referred to museum-based programmes comprising 10, weekly sessions, by healthcare and third sector organisations using inclusion criteria (e.g. socially isolated; able to give informed consent; not in employment; not regularly attending social or cultural activities) and exclusion criteria (e.g. unable to travel to the museum; unable to function in a group situation; unlikely to be able to attend all sessions; unable to take part in interviews and complete questionnaires). In a within-participants design, the Museum Wellbeing Measure for Older Adults (MWM-OA) was administered pre-post session at start- mid- and end-programme. Twelve programmes, facilitated by museum staff and volunteers, were conducted in seven museums in central London and across Kent. In addition to the quantitative measures, participants, carers where present, museum staff and researchers kept weekly diaries following guideline questions, and took part in end programme in-depth interviews.

Results: Multivariate analyses of variance showed significant participant improvements in all six MWM-OA emotions, pre-post session at start- mid- and end-programme. Two emotions, ‘absorbed’ and ‘enlightened’, increased pre-post session disproportionately to the others; ‘cheerful’ attained the highest pre-post session scores whereas ‘active’ was consistently lowest.

Conclusions: Museums can be instrumental in offering museum-based programmes for older adults to improve psychological wellbeing over time. Participants in the study experienced a sense of privilege, valued the opportunity to liaise with curators, visit parts of the museum closed to the public, and handle objects normally behind glass. Participants appreciated opportunities afforded by creative and co-productive activities to acquire learning and skills, and get to know new people in a different context.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: wellbeing; museum; public mental health; older adults; social prescribing; social isolation; loneliness
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General) > AM0111 Museology. Museum methods, technique, etc.
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0176 Psychological tests and testing
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations > BX0800 Catholic Church > BX0840 Museums. Exhibitions
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts > N0400 Art museums, galleries, etc.
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R0726.7 Health psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Prof Paul M Camic
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 09:40
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2017 17:56
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16511

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00