Research shows Military Wives choirs members have improved wellbeing
01 August 2016
Wives and families of those serving in the armed forces often lead challenging lifestyles juggling long and unpredictable duty hours along with the concerns they have for the welfare of their partner.
A study conducted by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, has found that women who are part of a Military Wives Choir have an improved sense of health and wellbeing as a result of taking part.
The Military Wives Choirs approached the Sidney De Haan Centre to evaluate the effectiveness of the choirs as a support network for the families of armed service personnel. The findings revealed that group singing has a positive impact on the social, personal and health benefits of the women who take part, giving them more confidence, improved social skills and better organisational abilities.
Lizzie Neyland joined the Yeovilton Military Wives Choir when it first began in 2012. Lizzie is a marketing professional who moved from London to the Yeovil base in 2010 to be with her husband. Her husband serves in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy and has been deployed three times since she joined the choir.
Lizzie said: “I couldn't have even imagined what a big part the choir would be in my life and I've made new friends who understand what life in the military is like. I've developed my singing ability. I've performed at some amazing events, both big scale and also smaller more emotional events and I can truly say that being part of the choir has brought another level of happiness and support to my life.
“My friends and family are wonderfully supportive, but the moral support and understanding that comes from my fellow choir members is something quite different. They get it, they empathise, they’ll share your frustrations, they'll sort out your problems, they offer hope and share your joy when your husband returns.”
The Military Wives Choirs Foundation was established in 2010 and encompasses a network of over 75 choirs across the United Kingdom. Each choir has a musical director who uses a core repertoire of songs to enable women who move location to seamlessly continue their engagement and support.
Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre, said: “The Military Wives Choir have done so much to raise the profile of the power of group singing, and we were delighted to work with them and formally evaluate certain aspects of their remarkable network of choirs.
“The research was unique in being the first survey of a national network of choirs in the UK, and in addition to confirming the benefits of participating in group singing, also highlighted some of the challenges of managing such a large and evolving network of choirs.”
The perceived effects of singing on the health and wellbeing of wives and partners of member of the British Armed Forces has been published and can be accessed on the Public Health Journal.
Notes to Editor
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With 17,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.
- 95% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
- We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.
*2013/14 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey