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.
Rubin, M., Evans, O., & McGuffog, R. (2019). Social class differences in social integration at university: Implications for academic outcomes and mental health. In J. Jetten, & K. Peters (Eds.), The social psychology of inequality. Springer.
Evans, O., & Rubin, M. (2021). Making friends in high places: exploring the role of institutional status in the social integration of working-class higher education students in Australia. SN Social Sciences, 1(5), 1-20.
Bertschy, K., Skorich, D. P., & Haslam, S. A. (2019). Self-categorization and Autism: Exploring the Relationship Between Autistic Traits and Ingroup Favouritism in the Minimal Group Paradigm. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Cruwys, T., Stevens, M., & Greenaway, K. H. (2020). A social identity perspective on COVID-19: Health risk is affected by shared group membership. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(3), 584-593
Cruwys, T., Stevens, M., Platow, M., Drury, J., Williams, E., Kelly, A. J., & Weekes, M. (2020). Risk-taking that signals trust increases social identification. Social Psychology. doi: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000417
Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Fong, P., & Lam, B. C. (2019). Friendships that money can buy: Financial security protects health in retirement by enabling social connectedness. BMC Geriatrics, 19(1), 319.
Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Walter, Z. C., Rathbone, J., & Williams, E. (2019). The connecting adolescents to reduce relapse (CARR) trial: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of Groups 4 Health and cognitive behaviour therapy in young people. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 788.
Cruwys, T., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Hornsey, M. J., McGarty, C., & Skorich, D. P. (2019). Predictors of social identification in group therapy. Psychotherapy Research. 30(3), 348-361.
Cruwys, T., Saeri, A. K., Radke, H. R., Walter, Z. C., Crimston, C. R., & Ferris, L. J. (2019). Risk and protective factors for mental health at a youth mass gathering. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 28(2), 211-222.
Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Chang, M. X. L., Bentley, S. V., Haslam, S. A., Dingle, G. A., & Jetten, J. (2019). GROUPS 4 HEALTH reduces loneliness and social anxiety in adults with psychological distress: Findings from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(9), 787-801.
Rubin, M., Evans, O., & Wilkinson, R. B. (2016). A longitudinal study of the relations among university students' subjective social status, social contact with university friends, and mental health and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(9), 722-737.
Skorich, D. P., Gash, T. B., Stalker, K. L., Zheng, L., & Haslam, S. A. (2017). Exploring the Cognitive Foundations of the Shared Attention Mechanism: Evidence for a Relationship Between Self-Categorization and Shared Attention Across the Autism Spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(5), 1341–1353.
Steffens, N. K., LaRue, C. J., Haslam, C., Walter, Z. C., Cruwys, T., Munt, K. A., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., & Tarrant, M. (2019). Social identification-building interventions to improve health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review. doi: 10.1080/17437199.2019.1669481
Steffens, N. K., Slade, E., Stevens, M., & Haslam, S. A., & Rees, T. (2019). The association of identity leadership with gym class attendance and in-class effort, and the mediating role of group identification and comfort. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 45, 101544. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101544.
Stevens, M. & Cruwys, T. (2020). Membership in sport or exercise groups predicts sustained physical activity and longevity in older adults compared to physically active matched controls. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54(8), 557-566.
Stevens, M., Cruwys, T., & Murray, K. (2020). Social support facilitates physical activity by reducing physical pain. British Journal of Health Psychology, 25(3), 576-595.
Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R (2019). Leading ‘us’ to be active: A two-wave test of relationships between identity leadership, group identification, and attendance. Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, 9(1), 128-142.
Stevens, M., Rees, T., & Polman, R. (2018). Social identification, exercise participation, and positive exercise experiences: Evidence from parkrun. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(2), 221-228.
Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., & Polman, R. (2018). Leaders promote attendance in sport and exercise sessions by fostering social identity, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 28(9), 2100-2108.
Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2017). A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine, 47(10), 1911-1918.