Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Health conditions, attitudes toward study, and attitudes toward health at the beginning of university study: music students in comparison with other student populations

Claudia Spahn, Sandra Strukely, Andreas Lehmann
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 1: Page 26 (March 2004)

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Abstract: This study investigated the prevalence of psychological and physical symptoms and subject-related health problems and attitudes toward health and study on the part of music, psychology, medical, and sports students at the beginning of their university studies. The study investigated 247 music students, 266 medical students, 71 psychology students, and 71 sports students in their first semester at the University of Freiburg in the winter semester 2002-03. Health conditions were ascertained by the Giessen Symptom Questionnaire (GBB) and the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS); individual questions were posed with regard to the major subject (Epidemiological [EPI] Questionnaire). Health attitudes were ascertained by the Questionnaire on Health Locus of Control, and attitudes toward study were ascertained by the Questionnaire on Study-Related Patterns of Behavior and Experience (AVEM). Of the music students, 25% indicated current playing-related symptoms (EPI). On the GBB, the music students indicated significantly more physical symptoms (total score) than the medical and sports students. Psychology students did not differ significantly from music students regarding the severity of physical symptoms. Music students rated 8.4% in the HADS depression scale, and 33.5% on the anxiety scale, which was significantly more than the other students and placed them in the borderline or elevated range. According to the results of the AVEM, the music students' identification with their major subject was stronger, with high significance, than that of the other student groups. The music students were more convinced than other students that they could exercise influence on their own health. The higher prevalence of health problems in music students compared with other students requires specific prevention and health promotion measures for music students. Prevention programs for music students should be tailored to the specific situation at the outset of their university studies.

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