Music, Ballet, Mindfulness and Psychological Inflexibility

Psychology of Music. DOI: 10.1177/0305735616689298

Posted: 15 Jul 2017

See all articles by Telmo Serrano

Telmo Serrano


Helena Espirito Santo

Instituto Superior Miguel Torga; Universidade de Coimbra - Centro de Investigação do Núcleo de Estudos e Intervenção Cognitivo- Comportamental

Date Written: February 8, 2017


Both music and dance training can be conceptualised as mindfulness-like practices due to their focus on the present moment. Mindfulness and music are associated with mental health. However, evidence from dance practice, especially among ballet students, shows an association with mental health problems. Psychological inflexibility involves cognitive fusion, which is an excessive involvement with internal events, leading to experiential avoidance. Since studies analysing these concepts are scarce in music and dance practice, we intended to examine their effects in young music and ballet students. This study involved 113 participants (9 to 16 years old), 64.4% girls, 34.5% with musical training, 29.2% with ballet training, and 36.3% with no training. All participants completed the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM) and the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (AFQ-Y). AFQ-Y scores correlated with months of ballet training. Ballet students had greater psychological inflexibility than music students and students without any training. CAMM scores did not correlate with months of any practice, and did not distinguish between groups of practitioners. These data confirm prior findings that practice of ballet can have a potential impact on mental health by showing that young ballet students exhibit greater psychological inflexibility.

Keywords: Music, ballet, Mindfulness, psychological inflexibility

Suggested Citation

Serrano, Telmo and Espirito Santo, Helena, Music, Ballet, Mindfulness and Psychological Inflexibility (February 8, 2017). Psychology of Music. DOI: 10.1177/0305735616689298. Available at SSRN:

Telmo Serrano

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
United States

Helena Espirito Santo (Contact Author)

Instituto Superior Miguel Torga ( email )

Largo da Cruz de Celas nº1
Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-132
239404608 (Phone)

Universidade de Coimbra - Centro de Investigação do Núcleo de Estudos e Intervenção Cognitivo- Comportamental ( email )


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