Listening to music and coping in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

Tim Loepthien, Barbara Loidl, Christina Saalwirth, Bernhard Leipold

Universität der Bundeswehr München

Presenting author: Tim Loepthien


The Covid-19 pandemic is a critical life-event which potentially evokes stress and requires adaptation in various dimensions: One needs to cope with the threat of getting infected with Covid-19, job and financial restrictions, as well as restrictions in social relationships and stress in everyday-life. Various studies have identified listening to music as a potential means to regulate negative emotions and thus cope with stress. Hence, among other coping processes, listening to music might be a means to cope with stress following the pandemic. In two cross-sectional studies (Study 1: N = 401; Study 2: N = 170), we investigated the role of music-listening in coping with stress following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Study 1 showed significant relationships between perceived stress following the pandemic and the use of music to regulate one’s emotions. The latter also showed relationships with general coping processes.

Study 2 further enhanced these findings in showing specific relationships regarding the dimension one perceives as stressful and the music which is listened to. Whereas people tend to listen to music of negative valence when perceiving stress in everyday-life, being afraid of an infection is related with listening to positive and arousing music.

The adaptive role of listening to music is discussed within a stress-theoretical framework.