NEWS

Volunteers

OUR NEW SOCIAL PRESCRIBING EVALUATION REPORT

September 28, 2020

The NTU Social Identity Research Team has evaluated Social Prescribing Reducing Isolation in Gedling (SPRIING). More details (including the report) can be found on our Publications page

Community Gardening

NEW PAPER: THE SOCIAL CURE OF SOCIAL PRESCRIBING

April 12, 2025

The NTU Social Identity Group has a new paper published in the Journal of Health Psychology, which explores the Social Cure processes which take place within a Social Prescribing initiative. Lead author Dr. Juliet Wakefield explains: Social Prescribing (the supplementation of regular healthcare with lifestyle-related goal setting and support to help patients engage in local community groups) has been evidenced to improve mental and physical health amongst chronically ill patients whose health conditions are exacerbated by loneliness and social anxiety. In the UK, Social Prescribing is being rolled out across the National Health Service, and is central part of the NHS’s Long-Term Plan. However, there is no clear theoretical framework underpinning the design or evaluation of Social Prescribing initiatives, which significantly hampers providers’ ability to understand why, and for whom, these initiatives work. To remedy this, our research was underpinned by the Social Cure perspective, which posits that psychologically-meaningful social groups benefit health through various psychological processes, such as the receipt of much-needed social support from fellow group members during times of stress. In this paper, we examined whether the Social Cure perspective explains the efficacy of a Nottinghamshire Social Prescribing (SP) pathway. We collected data from 630 patients at their point of entry onto the pathway (T0), then again from 178 of these patients four months later at the end of the pathway (T1), and then again from 63 of these patients six-nine months later (T2). Supporting the Social Cure perspective, before participants even began the intervention there was a positive correlation between their number of group memberships and their health-related quality of life. Additionally, participants’ health-related quality of life improved during the intervention (between T0 and T1), and this was predicted by an increase in number of group memberships. This relationship between increased number of group memberships and health-related quality of life was serially mediated by key Social Cure process variables: increased sense of community belonging, increased sense of received community support, and a decreased sense of loneliness. This study is the first to show that Social Prescribing enhances health-related quality of life via Social Cure mechanisms. It is a companion to Kellezi et al.’s 2019 BMJ Open paper, which reports on the same Nottinghamshire Social Prescribing pathway. In that paper, we show that healthcare providers recognise the importance of social factors in determining patient well-being, and consider Social Prescribing to be an effective way to address patients’ social issues, while patients on a Social Prescribing pathway report that they value the different social relationships they create through the pathway. We also report that the healthcare usage of patients on the Social Prescribing pathway negatively predicted primary care usage, and that this relationship was mediated by increases in community belonging and reduced loneliness.

NTU press release about the paper.

Volunteers

NEW PAPER: SOCIAL IDENTITY PROCESSES IN VOLUNTEERING

April 12, 2025

The NTU Social Identity Research Group has a new paper published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, which explores the social identity processes involved in volunteering. Summarising the paper on Twitter, lead author Dr. Mhairi Bowe explained: Our mixed method study with community volunteers in England showed community identity is both motivator for and result of volunteering in the community. Community volunteers describe their volunteering as a result of being committed to a community that has looked after them. Their subsequent volunteering builds this community commitment and sense of belonging in ways that make them want to continue volunteering. Volunteers state that helping within their community also helps them feel their community is supportive and resourceful, and able to help others, including them, should they need help in the future. Survey results show volunteers identify more with their community, feel more supported, and report higher well-being, and mediation analysis illustrate the well-known links between volunteering and well-being are mediated by increased community identification and support. Both interviews and survey suggest community volunteering is linked with better well-being showing Social Cure processes, but also reveal a behaviour that can actively *build* community identification. During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering has surged, but its sustainability is vital, as is volunteers' well-being throughout.  Our study suggests strong and supportive community identities can both motivate this volunteering and sustain it, whilst promoting well-being.

NTU press release about the paper.

Soup Kitchen

OUR EVIDENCE IN HOUSE OF LORDS SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT

April 12, 2025

Evidence from foodbank-related research conducted by Dr. Mhairi Bowe and Dr. Juliet Wakefield is featured in the House of Lord's Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment's report, entitled 'Hungry for Change: Fixing The Failures in Food'. The report can be accessed here

Group Discussion

SOCIAL PRESCRIBING TOOLKIT

April 12, 2025

Based on our research into and evaluation of Social Prescribing initiatives, we, along with our collaborators at University of Winchester and London South Bank University have devised a Social Prescribing Toolkit. This Toolkit has been developed as a resource for individuals or organisations that are involved, or who are considering becoming involved in, Social Prescribing. For more details, please click here.

Family Fun in Field

NEW PAPER: FAMILY IDENTIFICATION AND FINANCIAL RESILIENCE

April 12, 2025

Members of our research group have just published a new paper: Family Identification Facilitates Coping with Financial Stress: A Social Identity Approach to Family Financial Resilience. You can find out more about it on our Publications pageNTU press release about the paper. 

Conference

ICSIH5 POSTPONED

April 12, 2025

Due to COVID-19, we have postponed the 5th International Conference on Social Identity and Health. More details are available via the conference website

 
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