This article was originally published here
PLoS One. 2021 Oct 20;16(10):e0258027. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258027. eCollection 2021.
Music listening can be an effective strategy for regulating affect, leading to positive well-being. However, it is unclear how differences in disposition and personality can impact music’s affective benefits in response to acute and major real-world stressful events. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a unique opportunity to study how music is used to cope with stress, loss, and unease across the world. During the first month of the spread of the COVID pandemic, we used an online survey to test if people from four different countries used music to manage their emotions during quarantine and if the functions of music depended on empathy, anxiety, depression, or country of residence. We found a positive relationship between the use of music listening for affect regulation and current well-being, particularly for participants from India. While people with stronger symptoms of depression and anxiety used music differently, the end result was still a positive change in affect. Our findings highlight the universality of music’s affective potency and its ability to help people manage an unprecedented life stressor.