Aarhus University Seal

Does Excessive Music Practicing Have Addiction Potential

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The concept of “musical addictivity” has previously been proposed, arguing that music activates the reward centers of the brain and thus can lead to behavioral addiction. Recent studies support this idea for music consumption. However, there has not been any research on whether these findings could be transferred to music practicing so far. Anecdotal evidence has shown that some musicians either continue to practice through practice-induced pain or have psychosomatic disorders at deprivation, thus transforming a former goal-directed behavior into a maladaptive one. In the present study, the hypothesis of music practice being addictive was first evaluated on a theoretical level taking into account psychological, clinical, and neuroscientific evidence. Additionally, an exploratory empirical study was conducted that adapted the Exercise Dependence Scale Revised (EDS-R), a psychometric instrument from sports psychology, to investigate whether musicians could fulfill the criteria to be classified as “at risk for dependence.” Participants (N = 25) were recruited from German conservatories. The results showed a classification distribution similar to studies from sports psychology: Three musicians were classified as “at risk for dependence,” 20 “nondependent-symptomatic,” and 2 “nondependent-asymptomatic.” These results tentatively support the hypothesis of practice addiction but do not yet constitute sufficient evidence. In sum, the concept of practice addiction appears to be a promising concept for further research and may have implications for the understanding of mental health problems in musicians.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesPsychomusicology: Music, Mind, & Brain
Pages (from-to)191-202
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventSysMus16: Conference for Students of Systematic Musicology - University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Duration: 7 Jun 201610 Jun 2016
Conference number: 16


LocationUniversity of Jyväskylä

    Research areas

  • Addiction, Practice, Maladaptive behavior, Reward

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 120382160