Goldsmiths mental health and music research tops journal

Primary page content

A research paper by a Goldsmiths academic has been named as the most read paper of the leading journal Cultural Trends for 2022.

Stock image of a musician playing guitar

The paper ‘Music and wellbeing versus musicians’ wellbeing’ explored the paradox of clinical data suggesting music can provide improvements to conditions like anxiety and depression, contrasted with evidence showing more musicians suffering from these conditions compared to the general population.

Cultural Trends, one of the leading international journals in the fields of Cultural Studies, and Visual and Performing Arts, announced that the paper had been read almost 7000 times in 2022 and currently ranks 12th  as the most read article of all time.

Its Altmetric score of 107 makes it the second most impactful article in the history of the journal, positioning it in the top 5 per cent of all research outputs globally.  The paper’s author Dr. George Musgrave from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, said he was “blown away”, by the paper’s response:

“I’ve been blown away by the interest shown in my paper. In writing it, I recognised the need to bring together many of the leading studies from around the world in this burgeoning field which are contributing to how we understand the complex relationship between music and mental health.” 

Dr Musgrave began exploring musicians’ mental health over a decade ago in his PhD on musicians’ experiences of competitiveness, and rose to prominence with the publication of Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition’ in 2020, co-authored with Sally Anne Gross from University of Westminster.

This research led to the launch of the helpline Music Minds Matter by the charity Help Musicians UK and has informed and spurred a range of public health initiatives, including the Mayor of London’s allowance for freelancers, the creation of the National Centre for Creative Health, the Equity Mental Health Charter, and a range of therapeutic interventions around the world. 

Dr Musgrave believes that the recognition his research has received online points to an increased interest in, and commitment to, improving musicians’ mental health. Dr Musgrave said: “It speaks to the growing interest in this subject not only in identifying the causes of mental health challenges, but also the effectiveness of interventions in a population which appears to be at-risk.

“I look forward to continuing to build my research agenda and learning from colleagues here and around the world about how best to support those who make the music which improves all our lives, but who are so often themselves suffering. “ 

Along with ‘Music and wellbeing vs. musicians wellbeing: Examining the paradox of music-making positively impacting wellbeing but musicians suffering from poor mental health’, Dr. Musgrave has published research on musicians’ mental health during COVID-19, music industry ethics following the tragic suicide of EDM DJ Avicii, clinical mental health outcomes for musicians and most recently musicians’ methods of relationship management positioning him as one of the leading experts in this field.