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Can singing help me relax? The effect of music preference on perceived stress levels

Faculty Advisor




music, singing, listening, stress relief

Abstract (summary)

Previous research has suggested that listening to music can be a helpful strategy in promoting feelings of relaxation, especially when participants can select their own music. However, the role of singing in relaxation is less clear. Some studies have examined the effects of group singing on levels of stress hormones, or have used singing as a way to induce stress, but none have examined whether or not singing alone in the absence of social stressors can decrease stress. The purpose of the current research study is to examine the role of music preferences in singing vs. listening for stress relief. Participants will complete various questionnaires in relation to their demographics, personality, and music experience. A mathematical stress-provoking task will follow, where they will rate their levels of perceived stress. Next, they will be randomly assigned to a listening or singing condition, with a song selection that they either enjoy or dislike. We hypothesize that individuals who sing preferred songs under low social stress should have a higher overall decrease in stress than those who were assigned songs they disliked. This research is not only beneficial to the student population with managing stress, but it could also have many implications in real-world settings. Future research should continue to examine other ways that singing in the absence of social pressure can aid in various therapeutic techniques.

Publication Information



Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)

Item Type

Student Presentation




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