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Viral tunes: changes in musical behaviours and interest in coronamusic predict socio-emotional coping during COVID-19 lockdown

Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik

International study identifies music as an aid in emotional regulation in times of crisis.

  • Disziplin: Sozial, Weitere
  • Forschungsmethode: Quantitativ
  • Forschungsdesign: Primärerhebung, Offene Befragung (selbstselektiert)
  • Erhebungsstatus: Erhebung abgeschlossen, Ergebnisse veröffentlicht, Daten zugänglich

Ziele der Studie

Beyond immediate health risks, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a variety of stressors, which may require expensive or unavailable strategies during a pandemic (e.g., therapy, socialising). The researchers of the Max-Planck-Institute asked whether musical engagement is an effective strategy for socio-emotional coping.


A custom questionnaire was developed to explore changes in musical engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

The survey consisted of seven core sections that measured: (1) basic demographic information; (2) living situation, employment, and importance of various leisure activities and chores during lockdown; (3) changes in listening formats, listening situations, forms of making music, and music selection (e.g., nostalgic music, diverse music) during lockdown; (4) whether or not people experienced making music as helping them cope emotionally with the lockdown situation, feel connected to others, and serve as a replacement for social interaction as well as changes in the importance of functions that making music served during lockdown, based on previously developed scales; (5) similar questions for music listening; (6) open-ended questions about changes in musical behaviour and specific repertoire listened to or played (not reported here); as well as (7) various questions about musicianship, importance of music, musical participation, personality traits, and self-reported changes in health and wellbeing due to the pandemic.

Data were collected from participants experiencing lockdown measures during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-April through mid-May 2020 in France, Germany, India, Italy, USA (New York state only), and the UK. These countries were selected because they differed in terms of the urgency of the pandemic at that time (number of cases and deaths), the severity of lockdown measures, the types and degree of publicly acknowledged corona-related musical behaviours, but also culturally.


The cleaned data required to reproduce all statistical analyses and figures in the paper are publicly available: https://github.com/lkfink/CMQ.