Psychosocial Work Environment of Musicians: How does it differ from the general workforce?

Anna Detari, Jonas Vaag, Hauke Wolfgang Egermann

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In the past decades, there is a growing interest in musicians’ physical and mental health. Musculoskeletal pain and hearing problems seem to be frequent among all genres, and heightened levels of anxiety, depression and psychological distress were also discovered. Both physical and mental issues seem to be at least partially related to occupational stress, negative work environments, and family/work conflicts. The handful of studies exploring these issues are focusing on orchestral musicians, who report high emotional demands, less social support, lower sense of community, and lower job satisfaction than the general workforce. However, we know surprisingly little of the psychosocial work environment of chamber and solo musicians, and non-classical players, such as jazz, pop, and rock musicians. Some studies already identified similar physical and mental problems among this population, therefore we hypothesise that they might face similar difficulties in their psychosocial environment. Moreover, gathering data from various musician populations might point out differences between groups, a lead to a better understanding of how psychosocial environment influences musicians.

The study set out to gain detailed information on Norwegian musicians’ psychosocial work environment and to compare it to the general population. Opposing previous literature, the inquiry is not restricted to classical orchestral musicians but aims to collect data on a wide range of professional musicians.

4168 members of the Norwegian Musician’s Union were invited to take part in the survey. All musicians who worked professionally in the 12 months prior to the questionnaire were selected to participate, 1607 musicians in total (female=1016, male= 1105, mean age 44.5 years, SD=10.7). Psychosocial work environment was measured on the QPS-Nordic scale.

At the research’s current state, the data is still being analysed, but based on previous research, we are expecting to find a less favourable psychosocial work environment than in the general population.

Since musicians are more likely to suffer from physical and mental problems than the general population, apart from measuring these differences, the root causes need to be investigated as well. One of these causes can most likely to be found in the working environment, including workload, demands, the balance between work and life, sense of community at the workplace, and job satisfaction. By investigating a psychosocial work environment of a large group of musicians from a wide range of genres and situations, we might get closer to understanding how their physical and mental problems are influenced by the circumstances in which the musicians work day by day.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Symposium on Performance Science -
Duration: 16 Jul 2019 → …


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Performance Science
Period16/07/19 → …

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