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‘To more than I can be’: A phenomenological meta-ethnography of singing groups for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Yoeli, Heather and Macnaughton, Jane (2021) '‘To more than I can be’: A phenomenological meta-ethnography of singing groups for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.', Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 25 (5). pp. 574-595.


Anecdotal experience and qualitative accounts suggest that singing groups, classes or choirs specifically for people with COPD (henceforth referred to as COPD-SGs) are effective in improving health. However, this is not reflected in the quantitative evidence. This meta-ethnography deployed phenomenological methods to explore this discrepancy. Analysis identified the phenomena of being together, being uplifted and being involved as central benefits of COPD-SGs. When viewed through the phenomenological lens of body-social as distinct from body-subject and body-object, findings demonstrated that the qualitative effectiveness of COPD-SGs is greatest on a collective basis. Qualitative research into the effectiveness of COPD-SGs offers more favourable results because phenomenological approaches can identify collective benefits that quantitative methods cannot. COPD-SGs should seek to maximise these collective benefits by rediscovering their cultural and artistic heritage within the national and global Arts in Health (AiH) movement, which has long emphasised the radical creative and healing power of group activity.

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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 November 2021
Date of first online publication:15 December 2020
Date first made open access:10 November 2021

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