Our Projects

Groups 4 Health (G4H)

Groups 4 Health (G4H) is an evidence-based psychological intervention designed to improve health by providing people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to increase their social connectedness, and in particular, their group-based social identifications. In addition to this skill-based knowledge, Groups 4 Health facilitates social group memberships by offering an in vivo group experience. This involves participants meeting new people (fellow group members), practicing their new skills immediately, and experiencing first-hand how an assortment of individuals can develop, over time, into a meaningful group that is beneficial to health.

Groups 4 Health draws on two lines of evidence. The first is the well-established epidemiological literature that recognizes the social determinants of physical health, mental health, cognitive health, and well-being. The second is recent work which applies social psychological theory to account for the conditions in which social relationships are either curative or harmful for health, and which explains why social group (as opposed to individual) engagement is especially beneficial for health.

The program consists of five modules that together aim to give people the knowledge and skills they need to manage their social group memberships, and the identities that underpin them, effectively. The module content is described briefly below. To view more details about the program, visit our website at groups4health.com.

Groups 4 Health Module Content:

Module 1. Schooling:

Raises awareness of the benefits of social groups for health, highlighting the costs of ignoring the social dimensions and points out that failure to use all social resources at our disposal generally leads to suboptimal health outcomes.

Module 2. Scoping:

Focuses on the range of group-based resources people have, or should have, to optimize health. This module engages participants in the process of social identity mapping, a tool developed specifically to explore people’s social identities as a means of evaluating current and ideal social functioning.

Module 3. Sourcing:

Focuses on identifying and strengthening existing valued social identities with a view to optimizing and sustaining these in the longer term.

Module 4. Scaffolding:

Uses the Groups 4 Health group as a model for establishing and embedding new social group connections whilst at the same time exploring strategies to identify which connections to develop and enact through a social plan of action.

Module 5. Sustaining:

This occurs at least one month later and aims to troubleshoot any difficulties in implementing social plans. It also revisits the social identity maps (created in Module 2) to see how they have developed. The social foundations that have been identified and developed in the preceding four modules are also reviewed with a view to encouraging their long-term maintenance.