This research was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT110100238) awarded to the first author.
How Groups Affect Our Health and Well-Being: The Path from Theory to Policy
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2014
©2014 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Social Issues and Policy Review
Volume 8, Issue 1, pages 103–130, January 2014
How to Cite
Jetten, J., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Dingle, G. and Jones, J. M. (2014), How Groups Affect Our Health and Well-Being: The Path from Theory to Policy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 8: 103–130. doi: 10.1111/sipr.12003
- Issue published online: 13 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 13 JAN 2014
- Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. Grant Number: FT110100238
Considerable evidence now exists that people can draw on social groups in order to maintain and enhance health and well-being. We review this evidence and suggest that social identity theorizing, and its development in the social identity approach to health and well-being, can help us to understand the way that groups, and the identities that underpin them, can promote a social cure. Specifically, we propose that social groups are important psychological resources that have the capacity to protect health and well-being, but that they are only utilized effectively when individuals perceive they share identity with another individual or group. However, as powerful as shared identities may be, their consequences for health are largely ignored in policy and practice. In this review, we offer a novel direction for policy, identifying ways in which building and consolidating group identification can help to capitalize effectively on the potential of group membership for health. Using this as a basis to increase awareness, we go further to offer practical interventions aimed at assessing identity resources as substantial and concrete assets, which can be cultivated and harnessed in order to realize their health-enhancing potential.