Cohen, M.L., (2009). Choral singing and prison inmates: influences of performing in a prison choir. Journal of Correctional Education. 60(1), 52-65.
Author Affiliations: University of Iowa
Artforms: Choir, music
Program: Therapeutic Community Inmate Singers (TCIS)
Program (Study) Location: Substance-abuse treatment center at a minimum-security correctional facility in U.S. Midwest
Program Description: “The therapeutic community program’s goals focused on changing participants’ addictive behavior through cognitive restructuring” (p. 55).” This included a community inmate choir. Weekly ninety-minute rehearsals culminated in a community-inmate performance.
Study Published: 2009
● Experiment 1: Adult male inmates aged 23-60 performing in an inmate-only choir inside the correctional facility
● Experiment 2: Adult male inmates aged 23-60 performing in a joint inmate/volunteer choir outside the correctional facility
● Experiment 1: 20 (10 in choir and 10 in control)
● Experiment 2: 48
Data Type: Experimental, Quantitative: Friedman Well Being Scale (FWBS) Evaluation Focus: The study asked: Are there differences in well-being measurements between the TCIS and the control group before and after a choral performance at the prison facility? Control and experimental groups were measured pre and post participation in a choral singing group and a choral performance. The Friedman Well-Being Scale (FWBS) measured composite well-being and five subscales: (a) emotional stability, (b) sociability, (c) joviality, (d) self-esteem, and (e) happiness (p. 55).
Summary of Impact: No significant differences between experimental and control groups in composite well-being scores were found in either experiment. In addition, the author found:
● Experiment 1: Tendency toward negative responses during containment; positive choir-related responses at final two rehearsals; overall choral experience reflections related to a sense of well-being.
● Experiment 2: Significant differences between experimental and control groups with experimental group showing improvements on four subscales: emotional stability, sociability, happiness and joviality.
KEYWORDS: adult, choir, emotional stability, happiness, joviality, music, self-esteem, singing, sociability, well-being