Why do people who are more socially connected live longer and have better health than those who are socially isolated?
Why are social ties at least as good for your health as not smoking, having a good diet, and taking regular exercise?
Why is treatment more effective when there is an alliance between therapist and client?
Until now, researchers and practitioners have lacked a strong theoretical foundation for answering such questions. This ground-breaking book fills this gap by showing how social identity processes are key to understanding and effectively managing a broad range of health-related problems.
Integrating a wealth of evidence that the authors and colleagues around the world have built up over the last decade, The New Psychology of Health provides a powerful framework for reconceptualising the psychological dimensions of a range of conditions – including stress, trauma, ageing, depression, addiction, eating behaviour, brain injury, and pain.
Alongside reviews of current approaches to these various issues, each chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the ways in which theory and practice can be enriched by attention to social identity processes. Here the authors show not only how an array of social and structural factors shape health outcomes through their impact on group life, but also how this analysis can be harnessed to promote the delivery of ‘social cures’ in a range of fields.
This is a must-have volume for service providers, practitioners, students, and researchers working in a wide range of disciplines and fields, and will also be essential reading for anyone whose goal it is to improve the health and well-being of people and communities in their care.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Introduction: Why do we need a new psychology of health? 2. The social identity approach to health 3. Social disadvantage 4. Stigma 5. Stress 6. Trauma and resilience 7. Ageing 8. Depression 9. Addictions 10. Eating 11. Brain injury 12. Acute pain 13. Chronic mental health conditions 14. Chronic physical health conditions 15. Unlocking the social cure: Groups 4 Health 16. Delivering the social Cure: Application and policy. Appendix: Measures of identity, health and well-being. References
Catherine Haslam (PhD, Australian National University) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the social and cognitive consequences of identity-changing life transitions (e.g., trauma, disease, ageing). She was an Associate Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (as part of its Social Interactions, Identity and Well-being Program), is an Associate Editor of the British Journal of Psychology and on the Editorial Board of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.
Jolanda Jetten (PhD, University of Amsterdam) is a Professor of Social Psychology and former Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on social identity, group processes, and intergroup relations. She has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles on these topics, and previously co-edited The Social Cure: Identity, Health and Well-Being (Psychology Press, 2012; with Catherine Haslam and Alex Haslam). She is a former Chief Editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology and currently Chief Editor of Social Issues and Policy Review.
Tegan Cruwys (PhD, Australian National University) is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, a practicing clinical psychologist, and a recipient of the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Research Award. Her research investigates the social-psychological determinants of health, with a particular focus on health behaviours, mental health, and vulnerable populations.
Genevieve Dingle (PhD, University of Queensland) is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on social factors in addiction, depression, and chronic mental health problems; people experiencing homelessness; and the recovery process. She is on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.
S. Alexander Haslam (PhD, Macquarie University) is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland. He is a former Chief Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology whose research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in social, organisational, and clinical contexts. Together with colleagues he has written and edited 11 books and over 200 peer-reviewed articles on these topics, including most recently, The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power (Psychology Press, 2011, with Steve Reicher and Michael Platow).
'The New Psychology of Health could not have "come of age" at a more critical point in time. Setting out an analysis that has been meticulously developed and tested over the last decade, this book moves us beyond the stereotyped terms of a debate about whether health is a product of genes, environment or chance. Instead it argues that what lies at the heart of individuals’ health is the nature of the social connections that exist between them and the sense of shared identity that these connections both produce and are produced by.' - Professor Dame Sue Bailey, OBE, DBE, FRCPsych
‘It has been a touchstone of psychologists that they study individual differences: why, in a given set of social circumstances, one individual will respond differently to another. Socially oriented scientists ask questions about group differences, such as social inequalities in health. This important book brings the two perspectives together. The authors take a theory in psychology, social identity, and show how it can help us understand social determinants of health. More, it illustrates how social identity can underpin the protective effects of social connections and empowerment.’ - Sir Michael Marmot, Author of The Health Gap
‘This book is a potential game-changer in how we conceptualise our interventions and I thoroughly recommend it. It provides clear guidance on the application of well-researched theory to health and wellbeing and packs an important, fresh and timely message. It will be an invaluable resource for those who are in clinical training, those who provide training, and for researchers, policy makers and a lay readership who simply want a better understanding of important issues at the heart of their and others’ health.’ - Tony Wainwright, The Psychologist
‘Humans are intensely social, and pro-social, beings, so it should be no surprise that the quality of social relationships should have profound effects on human health and happiness. This book shows how modern knowledge of the power of social connections and social identity changes both epidemiology and best practices for prevention and treatment of almost every medical condition. Scholars, patients, practitioners, and managers of all the human care professions need to read this book. It offers many practical lessons alongside such a range of confirming psychological evidence that they will never see themselves, each other, their patients, and their jobs in the same way again. The social cure is magic, and effective for all humans whether young or old, ailing or healthy.’ - John F. Helliwell, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of British Columbia, Canada
‘This book will change the way you think about health. It covers an impressive array of conditions, each time explaining how the social identity perspective changes our understanding of their development and treatment. This is an indispensable resource for all health professionals.’ - Naomi Ellemers, Distinguished University Professor, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
"In sum, as this book makes clear, group processes are relevant to all facets of health and ill-health – cognitions, behaviours, phys-ical and mental health outcomes – and the book offers fresh insights into these processes and the dynamic social contexts which shape them. The many profound effects docu-mented across The New Psychology of Health, and the practical contribution that the SIAH makes to understanding and responding to health challenges faced in today’s society, should implore us all to take seriously the point that social groups can offer an acces-sible, meaningful, and sustainable social cure." - Dr Mark Tarrant, University of Exeter Medical School, The British Psychological Society