Health and Identity Lab

Friends standing on top of mountain at dusk

Our research examines the ways our mental and physical health is fundamentally shaped by our social relationships and social connectedness. A particular focus of our work is on the vital role of the social groups in determining health outcomes. Social identities are those groups to which we subjectively belong, and consider an important part of who we are.

In our research, we use a diverse array of research designs including lab and field-based experiments, intensive longitudinal studies, qualitative investigations with vulnerable communities, and randomised controlled trials. Through this varied and flexible approach, we contribute to efforts to find solutions to problems of national and global significance. For instance, we investigate the role of discrimination, poverty, and loneliness in contributing to mental illness and health inequality. We investigate the factors that drive peoples’ engagement in behaviours that enhance health (e.g., physical activity and healthy eating), as well as behaviours that can harm health (e.g., risky behaviours such as binge drinking and drug taking). Our research also focuses on designing, implementing, and testing theory-driven health interventions.

We work with diverse populations and in a wide array of contexts. These include young people at mass gatherings, members of sports teams and exercise groups, retirees, people experiencing depression, trauma or chronic illness. Our lab has also worked in partnership with 20 different community organisations, and over 150 researchers across 14 countries. We have particularly strong links with the University of Queensland, University of Exeter, University of Otago, Bournemouth University, and University of Edinburgh.


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  • Representative Publications

Cruwys, T., Fong, P., Evans, O., Batterham, P., & Calear, A. L. (2022). Boosting neighbourhood identification to benefit wellbeing: Evidence from diverse community samples. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 81, 101816.

Cruwys, T., Fong, P., Evans, O., & Rathbone, J. A. (2022). A community-led intervention to build neighbourhood identification predicts better wellbeing following prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 1030637.

Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., & Dingle, G. A. (2022). Misery loves company: Predictors of treatment response to a loneliness intervention. Psychotherapy Research, 1–17.

Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Rathbone, J. A., & Donaldson, J. L. (2022). Acceptability and Feasibility of an Intervention to Enhance Social Group Belonging: Evidence From Three Trials of Groups 4 Health. Behavior Therapy, 53(6), 1233–1249.

Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Rathbone, J. A., Williams, E., Haslam, S. A., & Walter, Z. C. (2022). Groups 4 Health versus cognitive–behavioural therapy for depression and loneliness in young people: Randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial with 12-month follow-up. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 220(3), 140–147.

Cruwys, T., South, E. I., Halford, W. K., Murray, J. A., & Fladerer, M. P. (2022). Measuring “we-ness” in couple relationships: A social identity approach. Family Process, 00, 1–23.

Evans, O., Cruwys, T., Cárdenas, D., Wu, B., & Cognian, A. V. (2022). Social Identities Mediate the Relationship Between Isolation, Life Transitions, and Loneliness. Behaviour Change, 39(3), 191–204.

Evans, O., McGuffog, R., Gendi, M., & Rubin, M. (2022). A First Class Measure: Evidence for a Comprehensive Social Class Scale in Higher Education Populations. Research in Higher Education, 63(8), 1427–1452.

Evans, O., & Rubin, M. (2022). In a Class on Their Own: Investigating the Role of Social Integration in the Association Between Social Class and Mental Well-Being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 48(5), 690–703.

Hardacre, S. L., & Subašić, E. (2022). With great power comes great responsibility: Repositioning gender (in)equality as men’s burden or men’s responsibility. TPM - Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 29(1), 97–122.

Rathbone, J. A., Cruwys, T., & Jetten, J. (2022). Non-stigmatising alternatives to anti-obesity public health messages: Consequences for health behaviour and well-being. Journal of Health Psychology, 27(7), 1601–1614.

Rathbone, J. A., Cruwys, T., Jetten, J., Banas, K., Smyth, L., & Murray, K. (2022). How conceptualizing obesity as a disease affects beliefs about weight, and associated weight stigma and clinical decision‐making in health care. British Journal of Health Psychology, bjhp.12625.

Rathbone, J. A., Cruwys, T., Stevens, M., Ferris, L. J., & Reynolds, K. J. (2023). The reciprocal relationship between social identity and adherence to group norms. British Journal of Social Psychology, bjso.12635.

Rathbone, J. A., Jetten, J., & Cruwys, T. (2022). Perceived legitimacy of weight-based discrimination: Consequences for group identity, collective action, body satisfaction, and self-esteem. Body Image, 41, 156–162.

Rathbone, J. A., Stevens, M., Cruwys, T., & Ferris, L. J. (2022). COVID-safe behaviour before, during and after a youth mass gathering event: A longitudinal cohort study. BMJ Open, 12(7), e058239.

Robertson, A. M., Cruwys, T., Stevens, M., & Platow, M. J. (2022). Aspirational leaders help us change: Ingroup prototypicality enables effective group psychotherapy leadership. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, bjc.12406.

Skorich, D. P., Cassidy, L. M., Karimi, K. S., & Haslam, S. A. (2022). Self-Categorization and Autism: Exploring the Relationship Between Autistic Traits and Group Homogeneity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 28(2), 412–422.

Skorich, D. P., & Haslam, S. A. (2022). The integrated self-categorization model of autism. Psychological Review, 129(6), 1373–1393.

Stevens, M., Fitzpatrick, Á., & Cruwys, T. (2022). The effect of descriptive norms and social identification on performance and exertion during a physical fitness task. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 32(2), 313–323.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Cruwys, T., & Olive, L. (2022). Equipping Physical Activity Leaders to Facilitate Behaviour Change: An Overview, Call to Action, and Roadmap for Future Research. Sports Medicine - Open, 8(1), 33.

Stevens, M., White, S., Robertson, A. M., & Cruwys, T. (2022a). Repeated exercise class attendance: The role of class members’ similarity and social identification. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 61, 102212.

Stevens, M., White, S., Robertson, A. M., & Cruwys, T. (2022b). Understanding exercise class attendees’ in-class behaviors, experiences, and future class attendance: The role of class leaders’ identity entrepreneurship. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 11(4), 494–508.

Thurber, K. A., Brinckley, M.-M., Jones, R., Evans, O., Nichols, K., Priest, N., Guo, S., Williams, D. R., Gee, G. C., Joshy, G., Banks, E., Thandrayen, J., Baffour, B., Mohamed, J., Calma, T., & Lovett, R. (2022). Population-level contribution of interpersonal discrimination to psychological distress among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, and to Indigenous–non-Indigenous inequities: Cross-sectional analysis of a community-controlled First Nations cohort study. The Lancet, 400(10368), 2084–2094.

Western, K. A. B., Cruwys, T., & Ryan, M. K. (2022). What Does it Mean to be a Woman? How the Content of Gender Identity May Facilitate Women’s Coping with Sexual Harassment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(23–24), NP22921–NP22943.