Community identification, social support, and loneliness: the benefits of social identification for personal well‐being

McNamara, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-3123-3678, Stevenson, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2438-6425, Costa, S., Bowe, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-0491-1472, Wakefield, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-9683, Kellezi, B. ORCID: 0000-0003-4825-3624, Wilson, I. ORCID: 0000-0001-6670-9328, Halder, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-1608-6027 and Mair, E. ORCID: 0000-0001-5356-5927, 2021. Community identification, social support, and loneliness: the benefits of social identification for personal well‐being. British Journal of Social Psychology, 60 (4), pp. 1379-1402. ISSN 0144-6665

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Levels of loneliness across the world have reached epidemic proportions, and their impact upon population health is increasingly apparent. In response, policies and initiatives have attempted to reduce loneliness by targeting social isolation among residents of local communities. Yet, little is known about the social psychological processes underpinning the relationships between community belonging, loneliness, and well-being. We report three studies which apply the Social Identity Approach to Health to examine the mechanisms underpinning the relationships between community identity, health, and loneliness. Hypotheses were tested through secondary analyses of the 2014–2015 UK Community Life Survey (N = 4,314) as well as bespoke household surveys in a more (N = 408) and less (N = 143) affluent community at high risk of loneliness. Studies 1 and 2a demonstrated that the relationship between community identification and well-being was mediated by increased social support and reduced loneliness. In Study 2b, community identification predicted well-being through reduced loneliness, but not through social support. Our results are the first to evidence these relationships and suggest that community-level interventions that enhance community identification and peer support can promote a potential Social Cure for loneliness.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: British Journal of Social Psychology
Creators: McNamara, N., Stevenson, C., Costa, S., Bowe, M., Wakefield, J., Kellezi, B., Wilson, I., Halder, M. and Mair, E.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: October 2021
Volume: 60
Number: 4
ISSN: 0144-6665
Rights: © 2021 the authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 05 May 2021 15:07
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 14:49

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