Exploring Peri-COVID Music Listening Experiences


The Covid-19 pandemic has suddenly altered day-to-day life (Zacher & Rudolph, 2021). Recent studies have found that young adults are consuming more media content (music listening, television, social media, video games) as a coping mechanism due to significant restrictions on movement (Krause et al., 2021; Zheng et al., 2020). Moreover, research has shown how engaging with music during COVID is associated with improved quality of life (Krause et al., 2021). With the growing concern of health and wellbeing, this proposed study aims to analyse changes in music listening practices amongst individuals during the pandemic and music listening's ability to cultivate self-compassion, a strong predictor of mental health (Neff, 2003). Hargreaves, D.J., Miell, D., & MacDonald, R. A. R. (2005). How do people communicate using music? In D. Miell, R. A. R. MacDonald, & D. J. Hargraves (Eds.), Musical Communication (pp. 1-25). Oxford University Press. Krause, A. E., Dimmock, J., Rebar, A. L., & Jackson, B. (2021). Music listening predicted improved life satisfaction in University students during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 631033. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.631033 Neff, K. D. (2003). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2(3), 223-250. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309027 Zacher, H., & Rudolph, C. W. (2021). Individual differences and changes in subjective wellbeing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist, 76(1), 50-62. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000702 Zheng, C., Huang, W. Y., Sheridan, S., Sit, C. H., Chen, X., & Wong, S. H. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic brings a sedentary lifestyle in young adults: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6035. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176035

Research Questions / Hypotheses

The purpose of the research was to investigate peri-COVID music listening experiences. In particular, we were interested in finding out how people access and experience music and whether people’s musical background is related to their listening experiences.




The questionnaire was completed online and was hosted using Qualtrics. A direct weblink to the questionnaire (to the Plain Language Statement) was provided to potential participants. Individuals indicated their consent to participate before viewing any of the questionnaire. If individuals indicate that they do not consent to participating (clicking ‘no’ rather than ‘yes’), they were redirected to the end of the questionnaire without viewing any of the questionnaire. Survey questions addressed (1) demographics (e.g., age, gender, personality), (2) musical background, preferences, identity, and engagement style, and cognitive style (3) listening strategies for coping with stress and optimizing performance, (4) well-being, (5) self-compassion and (6) synaesthesia. Resulting data was primarily quantitative, stemming from participants answering using Likert scales. Additional, open-ended questions will provide qualitative data.


Data analysis is currently underway. The quantitative data will be statistically analysed using SPSS software. In particular, factor analysis will be used as a data reduction technique (e.g., determining the factor structure of motivations, emotion regulation strategies, etc.). Additionally, regression analyses will be performed to consider the variables that contribute to explaining the associations between individual difference variables (e.g., age, gender, personality) and the measures characterising music engagement (e.g., coping strategies employed, type of musical engagement, device use). Qualitative data (resulting from the open-ended questions) will be subject to thematic analysis (see Braun & Clarke, 2006).


In line with the REP procedures, the summary research report will be emailed to REP student participants. This written report will also be posted on the first year LMS site as per REP guidelines.