Enhancing wellbeing; An emerging model of the adaptive functions of music listening

Jenny M. Groarke*, Michael J. Hogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Affect regulation is generally considered the most important function of music listening (FML). Yet, models of wellbeing also highlight engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement, and other adaptive functions that music may facilitate. However, there is currently no consensus as to how these adaptive FML co-function within an enhancement system that supports wellbeing. The current study used the collective intelligence methodology, Interactive Management (IM) to address this gap in the literature. Four IM sessions were conducted, two with younger adults (N = 24) and two with older adults (N = 19). Participants responded to the stimulus question "why do you listen to music?" Each participant then voted for five FML they believed were most significant for enhancing wellbeing. The eight highest ranked functions were entered into Interpretive Structural Modelling software, and relations between pairs of FML were discussed. Four structural models were generated demonstrating potential interdependencies in FML in the context of wellbeing enhancement. Age differences emerged in the FML considered adaptive: younger adults emphasized affect regulation and social connection, whereas older adults emphasized more eudaimonic functions of music (e.g., Transcendence and personal growth). The influence of FML are discussed in reference to key wellbeing and developmental theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-791
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number4
Early online date09 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ageing
  • functions of music listening
  • mixed methods
  • positive psychology
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing wellbeing; An emerging model of the adaptive functions of music listening'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this