McKenzie, S., Glasser, S., Osborne, M. S., & Krause, A.E. (2023, 27 August). A Catalyst for Self-Compassion During the COVID-19 pandemic: The Role of Music Listening. Poster presented at the ICMPC17-APSCOM7 joint conference, 24-28 August 2023. The College of Art, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan. https://doi.org/10.26188/24069714
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase of people experiencing mental health concerns (Williams et al., 2020). During this challenging time research suggests that young adults turned to music as a coping mechanism (Fink et al., 2021). Indeed, music listening exerts a powerful impact on human emotions (Juslin & Laukka, 2004). However, research on music listening is rarely focused on self-compassion, a strong predictor of mental health (Neff, 2003). Literature on the interplay between self-compassion and mental health is growing (Inwood & Ferrari, 2018), as such this study aimed to explore the role everyday music listening plays in cultivating self-compassion.
Methods: A total of 296 Australian university students (Mage = 19.32) completed an online survey on music listening and self-compassion. The survey included the Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form (Raes et al., 2010), alongside a music focused 'author-adapted' version of the scale. Open-ended questions exploring experiences of music listening and self-compassion in context to the COVID-19 pandemic were also collected.
Results: Results show that 82% of the sample experienced self-compassion whilst listening to music, with 87% suggesting that this type of listening outcome had increased due to the pandemic. Results from the thematic analysis indicate that music listening fosters self-compassion across themes such as emotion regulation, cognition, connection, and outlet.
Discussion: This study highlights the connection between everyday music listening and self-compassion, particularly during challenging times like the pandemic. This study however is not without limitations and future work is needed on alternative frameworks in self-compassion to gain different perspectives.
Conclusion: This research provides insights into personal music use during a historical period of challenge and collective trauma. These findings could have implications when considering the process loop of how everyday music listening can likely cultivate self-compassion, while in turn improving mental health.
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