The Correlation Between Hobbies and Depression: A Social Prescription
Recently, there has been a growing interest in directing primary care patients towards non-medical supportive sources, in addition to medical methods. Commonly referred to as “social prescription”, this support is provided specifically for patients with low-moderate levels of depression.
Some of the popular activities prescribed in the social prescription include group activities, such as music, painting, needlework, carpentry, collecting, or handicraft like model building. All these factors encourage the patient to take part in different activities.
These activities improve the coping skills and agency, while channeling the attention, providing innovation, cognitive stimulation, and a sense of belonging. All these activities also provide the social support that positively affect the mental health. Furthermore, hobbies provide the individuals with the opportunity to make emotional interactions, to express themselves, to be creative, and to relax. The studies conducted regarding the correlation of depression and hobbies, have reported the benefits of engaging in hobbies that include artistic activities.
The studies support physicians, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social services specialists in terms of using social prescriptions in addition to the current care plans of their patients (however, for each patient, one must pay attention on ensuring the suitability of the prescription).
– Fancourt, D., Opher, S., & de Oliveira, C. (2019). Fixed-Effects Analyses of Time-Varying Associations between Hobbies and Depression in a Longitudinal Cohort Study: Support for Social Prescribing? Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 1–3. doi:10.1159/000503571
– Fancourt D, Finn S. Cultural contexts of health: the role of the arts in improving health and well-being in the WHO European region (Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report). Copenhagen: WHO; 2019 Nov.
– Fancourt D, Perkins R. Effect of singing interventions on symptoms of postnatal depression: three-arm randomised controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;212(2):119–21