Using Arts to Support Leadership Development

Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS)


The authors describe theories underlying the use of fine arts in efforts to improve psychosocial work environments. Direct influence on the emotional brain from strong experiences of arts may start processes that improve the environment via strengthening of empathy. Regeneration and energy mobilization are central concepts. A practical experiment designed as a random trial with an intervention using strong experiences of arts in a program with repeated exposures once in a month for 9 months for managers was compared with a more conventional program with a similar amount of lectures lasting for the same period. Follow-up after 18 months of the managers themselves and their employees showed more benefit for employees in the arts group than in the other group. These benefits included coping patterns, psychological well-being, and regeneration (plasma concentration of DHEA-s). Weaknesses and strengths of these findings are discussed against the background of other research.


Music Poetry DHEA-s Regeneration Psychological stress Manager intervention Psychological well-being 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ersta, Sköndal and Bräcke CollegeStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Stress Research InstituteUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Morten Wahrendorf
    • 1
  • Jian Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Sociology, Centre of Health and Society (CHS)Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Medical FacultyDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Fielding School of Public Health, School of NursingUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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