Specific demands and resources in the career of the Norwegian freelance musician
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Background: Research indicates that there is a higher degree of mental health problems, family/work conflicts and sleep-related problems among workers in creative occupations than in other professions. Research also reveals that musicians have to deal with a relatively high degree of occupational stress. There is, however, a lack of research investigating the qualities of freelance musicians’ psychosocial work environment, as well as possible protective factors for maintaining good mental health. Methods: Based on 12 in-depth interviews, we used a template analysis to examine the unique characteristics of the professional life of freelance pop and rock musicians. Results: Using the job demands-resources model as a conceptual framework, we found that an unpredictable future, threats to the family/work balance and significant amounts of external pressure were three broad contextual demands facing freelance musicians. Social support from family, fellow band members, audiences and their professional network, as well as having adequate personal resources such as entrepreneurial skills, value-anchored flexibility, tolerance for ambiguity and dedication to music making were described as important for managing life as a freelance musician. Conclusions: Musicians’ psychosocial work environment and health seem to be related to the three overarching protective factors also described in resilience research: namely personal dispositions, family coherence and social resources.