Measuring the Impact of the Arts on Social Distancing and Isolation

Monday Apr 27th, 2020

survey preview

How has sheltering in place impacted the mental health of Americans? What activities can improve our mental health and quality of life during the COVID-19 crisis? You can help inform the answers to these questions.

Americans for the Arts is partnering on a new international study to measure the mental health impact of COVID-19 and social distancing on the American public and is seeking volunteers to participate via online surveys.

Due to COVID-19, millions of Americans are isolated in their homes, and will remain so for a significant period. “COVID-19 and Social Distancing Study: Exploring the Impacts of Arts and Other Activities on Mental Health” is a new study designed to strengthen our understanding of the mental health impacts of sheltering in place, social distancing, and isolation—and to determine if there are activities that buffer against those ill effects (such as the arts). The study is a partnership between University College London, University of Florida, and Americans for the Arts.

It is already known that certain activities are good for mental health and combat the effects of isolation—such as practicing music and art, or volunteering in the community. This study is designed to track large numbers of participants to learn how those activities impact an individual’s mental health while social distancing and sheltering at home. The study began several weeks ago in the United Kingdom by noted social epidemiologist Dr. Daisy Fancourt and is now expanding to the United States. In the U.K., more than 70,000 participants have signed up for the survey to date. Researchers hope to reach similar levels of participation in the U.S.

In addition to advancing knowledge and treatment for mental health, the findings will inform policies and practice about the role of the arts in promoting mental health and addressing issues of loneliness and isolation.

Everyone age 18 and older is welcome to be part of the study. Participation is fast and simple:

  1. Sign up online.
  2. Complete an initial 10-minute survey (responses are anonymous).
  3. You will then receive a short weekly questionnaire asking about your COVID-19 experiences, health, and time spent on a range of activities (including the arts).
  4. The study is expected to continue through duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

The results are published weekly, and anyone can track the study’s progress. Please share this opportunity with family, friends, and colleagues.

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