Low Self-Esteem and Music Performance Anxiety Can Predict Depression in Musicians


Background: Music performance anxiety (MPA) is an issue concerning musicians from all levels but is still a rather neglected topic in the education and employment of musicians. This study investigated the link between self-esteem, MPA, and depression within a German-speaking sample of musicians of different professions. The underlying question of this study was generated during psychotherapy treatment of musicians with depression and MPA. Thus, we investigated whether musicians with low self-esteem had MPA or depression.

Methods: An online questionnaire on self-esteem, performance anxiety, and depression was sent to a sample (n=295) of German musicians of different professions and levels of education. The assessment tools in the online questionnaire included the Rosenberg-Self-Esteem-Scale, the Kenny Music-Performance-Anxiety-Inventory, and the Beck-Depression-Inventory.

Results: Music students had a significantly lower self-esteem scores compared to employed professionals and amateurs and a higher MPA compared to employed musicians. Regression analyses showed a significant prediction of depression by self-esteem and MPA. Specifically, low self-esteem and the cognitive and behavioral aspects of MPA were significant predictors of depression. Partial mediation by MPA between self-esteem and depression was found.

Conclusion: Low self-esteem and MPA could predict depression. The scores of the entire sample of musicians regarding their MPA and depression were higher than in the general German population. These results highlight the importance of education and removal of negativity regarding performance anxiety in order to improve psychotherapy methods and ensure musicians’ health in general.

More information you can find here:

Sickert, C., Klein, J. P., … (2022). Low Self-Esteem and Music Performance Anxiety Can Predict Depression in Musicians. Medical problems of performing artists37(4), 213–220. https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2022.4031

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