Researchers conducted an on-line survey of 375 people who sang in choirs, sang alone, or played team sports. All the three activities yielded high levels of psychological well-being - but choristers stood out as experiencing the greatest benefit.

Choral singers also viewed their choirs as more coherent or "meaningful" compared with the way sports players regarded their teams, a daily reported.

The social aspect is crucial, said Nick Stewart of Oxford Brookes University, who led the study.

Studies have suggested that joining a choir could be a cost-effective way to improve people's well-being.     Yet we know surprisingly little about how the well-being effects of choral singing are brought about, researchers said.

"These findings suggest that feeling part of a cohesive social group can add to the experience of using your voice to make music," said Stewart.

The findings  were presented at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in York.


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