Musicians' social representations of health and illness: A qualitative case study about focal dystonia

Amélie Zosso, Veronika Schoeb Mezzanotte Amat

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Musicians are artists who use the entire body when playing their instruments. Since over-practicing may lead to physical problems, musicians might encounter focal dystonia, a hand's motor disorder. The cause seems to be the brain's confusion between afferent and efferent information transfer provoking a disharmony with the instrument. Although focal dystonia may have serious consequences for a musician's career, it is unclear how musicians perceive this trouble. This case study describes two musicians with focal dystonia. Qualitative research was used to study their social representations of health and illness. The results show the central role of the hand during music playing, the passion for music and the understanding for focal dystonia as "brain panic". Therapists should account for those specific features inherent to this population in order to better help them in their quest for art through music. Giving a voice to musicians may improve their quality of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • performing artists
  • Physical therapy
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Medicine


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