Can Group Singing Brighten COPD Blues and Improve Quality of Life?


College of Dupage Nursing Student Jamie Kloth shared that if you’ve ever felt chest tightness as you walk from your kitchen to family room, winded after a simple conversation, or had bouts of shortness of breath and wheezing, chances are, you have COPD. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects the respiratory system by obstructing airflow. Those that have COPD often have comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and skeletal muscle dysfunction. With symptoms affecting everyday life and activities, it is not a surprise that individuals with COPD may also suffer from depression on occasion. People who have COPD are twice as likely to have depression as compared to those without COPD.

Traditional treatment for depression, such as pharmacological therapies and psychological interventions have been successful in treating depression but have little effect on quality of life for those with COPD. Individuals with COPD often need to try several treatments to alleviate their symptoms, so treatment may seem to feel more like a chore than a successful treatment at times.

What if there was one treatment that could treat depression and improve quality of life for someone with COPD?  Researchers at Xi’an Medical University in Xi’an, China have found that musical therapy, specifically group singing, reduces the depressive symptoms and improve quality of life in individuals with COPD. Researchers worked with music therapists to create a therapy that included relaxation exercise, respiratory exercises, and singing exercises for stable COPD participants. The study outcomes revealed several advantages to singing; those individuals with COPD found it a joyful task that was easy to engage in, with no obvious side effects and singing was found to be low-cost and with the added benefit of exercising the respiratory system. Vital capacity was improved as well as cardiac-pulmonary function, and perhaps most importantly, singing was well accepted by patients with COPD.

COPD currently affects an estimated 65 million people worldwide. Chances are, you know someone who has it – so the next time you see them, get out the music and start that duet!

Liu, H., & Mei. (2019, January 05). Group singing improves depression and life quality in patients with stable COPD: A randomized community-based trial in China. Retrieved from

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