S13: Arts-based groups facilitate mental health recovery by developing positive social identities and support.

Go back to Resource Library
By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Elyse Williams, Genevieve Dingle, Jolanda Jette1, Christian Rowan

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Reducing Stigma and Discrimination, Research & Evaluation Informing Practice, Wellbeing

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: People experiencing chronic mental health conditions often report feeling socially marginalised. This study examined whether participation in arts-based groups (choir or creative writing) run by the School of Hard Knocks enhances participants’ mental well-being by decreasing group based stigma and increasing their shared social identity and support. A one-year prospective study of 59 new members of arts based groups for disadvantaged adults in Brisbane involved three assessments of participants’ social, physical, and mental well-being. Their results were compared with 28 participants of an established community choir who were assessed at a single time point. The results show participants’ mental and physical well-being significantly improved. The arts-based group participants initially scored lower on well-being outcomes than the community choir, but over time this discrepancy became non-significant. Perceived stigma and discrimination against the group decreased over time. Group identification and perceived social support were significant predictors of improvement in mental well-being. Qualitative analysis showed that support, recognition, like-mindedness, and acceptance enhanced participants’ sense of group identity. This study demonstrates that participation in arts-based groups can be effective in improving mental well-being in adults with chronic mental health problems. Moreover, social identity and support have a role in facilitating these benefits.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Understanding how developing a positive social identity can improve mental well-being, according to the social identity approach.

Learning Objective 2: Awareness of the empirical evidence that facilitating positive group-based activities can be an effective and accessible way for mental health services to facilitate social and psychological recovery from chronic mental health conditions.

Cruwys, T., Dingle, G. A., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., & Morton, T. A., (2013). Social group memberships protect against future depression, alleviate depression symptoms and prevent depression relapse. Social Science & Medicine, 98, 179-186.
Jetten, J., Haslam, C., Haslam, S.A., & Branscombe, N.R., (2012). The social cure. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press.

This resource is only available for subscribers. If you have a subscription, please log in. Otherwise, click here to purchase a subscription.