Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Armandas Bendaravicius 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am an Applied Psychology student at IADT and my primary interests in psychology relate to culture, art and the benefits that individuals get from their engagement with it. I have chosen for my research to reflect these interests in culture, and I have taken the opportunity to further my understanding the relationship between psychology and art. I hope to pursue a career in the future where I am able to apply my passion for artistic expression and intertwine it with my interests in psychology that I have adapted throughout the years of studying in IADT.

Project Overview

This project aims to investigate the differences in the psychological benefits of life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing in relation to the frequency of engagement with online and offline culture and art. It aims to discuss and explore if online exposure to these cultural spaces is associated with the same psychological benefits as offline cultural spaces. A survey was used to collect data from the participants from which the results of the study were computed.

Project Description

The study titled “Online/Offline Cultural Participation, and its relationship with Life Satisfaction and Wellbeing” investigated the main variables which were identified to be the frequency of exposure to online cultural spaces, frequency of exposure to offline cultural spaces, life-satisfaction, psychological wellbeing, and gender. Components of the offline cultural space which are linked to these inherent benefits can be explained by multiple studies ranging over many years. However, with technological improvements and possible inaccessibility of these offline spaces, some individuals may shift their focus towards online cultural spaces in an attempt to cumulate these benefits. A total of 142 individuals participated in the study and were recruited on college grounds with other participants being recruited online. The study aims to investigate the differences in life satisfaction and psychological well-being in relation to the frequency in which one participated in online and offline cultural spaces. The study also aims to fill the gap in knowledge for online exposure to culture and art and to explore if one type of exposure is associated with stronger benefits than the other. This perspective could enrich the understanding of the relationship between an individual and the choice of method in engagement with cultural elements.

Project Findings

Exposure to offline cultural spaces is linked to improved life satisfaction and well-being according to the literature. However, data regarding online exposure in addition to the comparison of effects of both online and offline exposure is not investigated to a similar extent. Gender differences may initially relate to differences in life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing, so it was important to consider the variable when exploring this concept. The study did not find any significant differences between both life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing in relation to the medium and frequency of exposure to the cultural spaces. A strong correlation between life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing was reported, which supports the existing literature. The results in gender differences also appear insignificant. The insignificant results may be attributed to the small numbers of the study, which offers an opportunity for the study to be replicated with a larger size in participant groups. In addition, the study’s unique perspective offers the literature a different way to view how different methods of art and cultural engagement may relate to different psychological benefits.

Online/Offline Cultural Participation, and its relationship with Life Satisfaction and Wellbeing

Existing literature praises the positive benefits that exist between culture and mental health. The current study investigated if these benefits are related to online spaces as they do to offline by focusing on the frequency of engagement, individual’s life satisfaction, and psychological wellbeing scores. A total of 142 participants partook in the study, aged 18-59 years. The study utilised a quantitative, between groups, 2x3x3 factorial survey design and used it to test the 7 hypotheses. The hypotheses related to the two main research questions of the study, how does the frequency of offline and online cultural participation relate to life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing, and how does gender relate to life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing in relation to cultural participation. No significant test results were produced bar in a correlational test between life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing. Despite the inconclusive results, the current study may broaden the research horizons of culture and psychology which could serve as a basis for future research investigating this relationship between the arts and mental health.