Taylor Swift May Be Good for Mental Health Per New Research

5 min read
Photo courtesy of Michael J. De Lazzer

Source: Photo courtesy of Michael J. De Lazzer

It’s been a rough few years that we’ve all gone through together. But now, even non-Swifties get a break, a chance to “Shake It Off:” the romance of an NFL player and a pop star. He looks at her adoringly, and even for this football-dumb woman, I love watching the giddiness and smitten glances from the field. It’s a storybook, real-life rom-com—a reprieve from the heaviness of these times.

Taylor Swift’s influence has been with us for a long time now. And contrary to others who gained fame in their youth but fell from a “State of Grace,” Ms. Swift is doing more than simply holding up. She and her Swifties are thriving. It’s a subculture, but I didn’t yet get it. So I went to the The Eras Tour movie to try and better understand the Taylor trend.

While in line, a cheerful stranger wearing cowboy boots and a dress greeted my husband and me. (FYI, in Los Angeles, that kind of “Fearless” friendliness is rarely experienced.) She asked if we’d been to the concert. I said, “No.” She talked about the “Afterglow” the concert gave her and then complimented the Taylor movie merch cup I was holding.

Shortly after, someone else, again gleeful, trekked over to my husband and me. She handed us pink and orange friendship bracelets to wear. Mine said TS and his Paris. (So cute! And how cool that we obvious outsiders were so welcomed!)

As people filled the theater, we noticed moms with kids wearing sparkly dresses. Dads showed up with their young ones, too. Probably 10 percent of the attendees were male appearing.

Are You “…Ready For It?”

Photo courtesy of Michael J. De Lazzer

Source: Photo courtesy of Michael J. De Lazzer

Once The Eras Tour film began, I kept glancing behind. Contrary to complaints about theater-going Swiftie fans “ruining” the experience, the enthusiasm was robust and quite polite. The whole theater danced while seated in their chairs and sang along. It was impossible to avoid the sense of connection and joy—all driven by love “Evermore” for Taylor Swift. I left The Eras Tour film feeling mentally way better and happier than my “Champagne Problems” had let me earlier in the day.

Shortly after my Eras experience, CalPsychiatry emailed an invite to a discussion group with Brian Donovan, a sociology professor at the University of Kansas. He teaches a course called The Sociology of Taylor Swift. So OK. I still wanted my “Epiphany” regarding the power of Swift.

Our group included around 25 therapists and psychiatrists—some were Swifties, and others were, like me, filled with curioSwifty. (Get it?). The discussions’ initial “Blank Space” immediately filled with stories of how Ms. Swift has touched both therapists and their clients alike, I began to piece together likely mental health benefits that Taylor Swift’s fandom seems to offer.

“You Belong With Me”

Sense of belonging. Swifties have a global connectedness. No matter what divisiveness is going on in our cultures, Swifties unite. Though I don’t personally know the lingo (Swifties have their fandom terminology), the minute I received that friendship bracelet, I’d been welcomed into a whole community. Human beings need social connectedness and a sense of belonging to thrive.

Intergenerational bonding. Generations share an appreciation of Swift and her music. For example, many females grew up with Taylor and her music. And now, their kids are growing up with Taylor and her music. Instead of a generational gap, there’s intergenerational bonding over a shared interest and icon: Taylor. What a powerful familial, intergenerational experience.


Coping skill(s). As good storytelling and music do, Swift’s music and lyrics offer comfort to and coping for many. (Just listen!) Having and using healthy coping skills is a huge part of mental wellness.

Emotion expressiveness/regulation. Swift’s lyrics validate emotional experiences. They seem to teach people a lot about labeling and expressing their own feelings. I believe this is a huge benefit because research shows that an inability to identify and discuss feelings is linked to poor mental health (Weissman et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2023).

“Speak Now”

Inspiring messages. With her platform, she often delivers humble and valuable life lessons. I was reminded of Swift’s commencement speech: “Learn to live alongside cringe.” She continues, “Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed ‘cringe’” (Dawn, 2022). Kind but real talk like this may serve as coping affirmations and motivational quotes that help counter negative thinking and self-judgment.


Humor. Taylor Swift appears to not take herself too seriously. Many of us (and our mental health) could probably also benefit from being less “Mean” to ourselves, too. Who knows how her role modeling of this impacts people; I’m going to imagine it’s positive.

Mental health awareness. Various songs reference struggles with mental health. I love that she brings that into the public eye, reducing shame surrounding and increasing awareness of mental health issues.

“You Can Call It What You Want,” but Here’s Some “Closure”

There’s a lot to be revealed about the sociology and science of Swift’s impact. For example, brand new research released earlier this month states, “Some artists have a more positive impact on the mood and wellbeing of young people than others, with Taylor Swift coming out on top (32%) as having the most positive effects” (The O2, 2023).

Yup. I get it. While not exactly a “Love Story,” Swift and her Swifties have, at the least, left me in a “Lavender Haze.” It’s kinda contagious in a feel-good way.

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