News from SIGN
On this page, you’ll find news from SIGN, including information about upcoming events, visiting researchers, and new academic research. Click on a featured publication to read more about it, or follow our news feeds below.
Featured Publications by SIGN Members
Recent Updates from SIGN
SIGN researchers Nik Steffens and Alex Haslam, along with Professor Michelle Ryan and Professor Kathryn Millard have recently shed light on how shared social identities enhance the recognition of creative performance. Their study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, is available here to view. It suggests that if you’d like to be recognised in a creative field (say, for example, to win an Oscar for acting), you’d best be very similar to the group judging the prize.
In a quote from their recent press release, Dr. Steffens said: “We examined what makes a creative performance likely to be seen as exceptional, and found that shared social group made an enormous difference.” Specifically, “if you want to win an Oscar it is best to be an American actor in a film that portrays American culture.” Read more here.
Our very own Genevieve Dingle recently completed a 12-month evaluation of a Queensland charity that helps disadvantaged adults empower themselves via the arts, and the results were great. The charity, called the School of Hard Knocks involves participants with mental health, homelessness, substance rehabilitation, and disability issues.
“Many of the participants experience marginalisation through not being in paid employment, not being in a personal relationship, and suffering a range of health conditions,” Dr Dingle said. “School of Hard Knocks provides a range of arts-based group activities such as choral singing, musical theatre and creative writing… After joining the School of Hard Knocks they exhibited increased energy, optimism, sense of closeness with others, the ability to think clearly and make good decisions.”
The original press release with further details can be seen here.
In a recent conversation piece entitled, “Is protectionism a ‘siren song’ to the poor or to the wealthy?”, our very own Jolanda Jetten and Frank Mols discuss protectionism and the notion of closing borders to ‘outsiders’. Who is most likely to want to close borders: the ‘haves’ or the ‘have-nots’? The original article appears in The Conversation, click here to read the full story.
The Society for Personal and Social Psychology has recently published our meta-analysis on the importance of social identification for well-being at work, in Personality and Social Psychology Review. The full press release can be seen here, with the original media release available here.
The research was undertaken by SIGN‘s Nik Steffens, Alex Haslam, and Jolanda Jetten, as well as Sebastian Schuh and Rolf van Dick. It examined two-decades of work on the relationship between individuals’ social identifications and health in organisations, and revealed a positive association between organizational identification and health. For further media coverage, click here.
If you feel like you could benefit from some more socialisation or group memberships, or are interested in our latest cutting-edge research, then check out our G4H Website! Visit groups4health.com to see how beneficial groups can be to your own personal health, and get in contact if you feel like you could use some support.
In June, our SIGN team hosted The 3rd International Conference on Social Identity and Health in Brisbane, Australia. The conference built on the success of previous meetings in Exeter and Ottawa, and provided a forum to showcase exciting research in what is a rapidly growing field of interest. ICSIH-3 featured multiple presentational formats designed to maximize opportunities for interaction, and included a full social program. Presentations covered work on the role of social identity in mental, cognitive, and physical health — with research addressing issues such as social disadvantage, social exclusion, stigma, stress, depression, eating behaviour, addiction, trauma, mass gatherings, health communication, assessment, and clinical intervention. Our team was also able to showcase the latest developments on our Groups 4 Health and Groups 4 Retirement projects. If you would like to see some of the outstanding presentations from our local and international delegates, please click here.
The vulnerability of older adults from non-English speaking backgrounds living in Australia will be central to a new joint research project. Researchers from The University of Queensland have partnered with Diversicare, the community care division of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ). Professor Jolanda Jetten from the School of Psychology and Dr Shuang Liu from the School of Communications and Arts said the project would aim to understand the best ways to help people ageing in a foreign land stay connected with their social networks.
“Older people from diverse cultural backgrounds are at increased risk of social isolation as they age in a foreign land,” Professor Jetten said. “There is evidence that they may be more vulnerable to diminished self-esteem, depression, poor psychological wellbeing and increased mortality. The project will look at answering key questions about the factors that contribute to a sense of isolation and to psychological wellbeing. When and how does engagement in ethnocultural and multicultural activities enhance social connectedness, community integration and wellbeing – and how successful are they?”
Professor Jetten and Dr Liu will collaborate with School of Psychology colleagues Professor Catherine Haslam and Emeritus Professor Cynthia Gallois. Diversicare General Manager Vivienne McDonald is the partner investigator on the project, which recently received a $150,000 Australian Research Council Linkage grant. Ms McDonald said the research would deepen Diversicare’s knowledge and inform strategies used to care for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. ECCQ Chairperson Serge Voloschenko also said findings would play a critical role in determining how future services were provided.
“We are very excited to be involved in this project and are grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how we can better support this particular group of Australians,” Mr Voloschenko said. “This research will shape the programs that Diversicare delivers, building our capacity to accommodate Australia’s diverse ageing population.” The research project will run for three years and adopt a mixed methods approach.
Diversicare currently employs around 250 care workers, 98 per cent of whom are bilingual, and has offices in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Logan, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
Media: Professor Jolanda Jetten, email@example.com , +617 3365 4909; Robert Burgin at UQ Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 7 3346 3035, + 61 0448 410 364. Original story appeared on: UQ News, 9 June 2016.
Two SIGN members have been awarded a prestigious Linkage Grant by the Australian Research Council. Jolanda Jetten and Cath Haslam, together with Dr Shuang Liu, Professor Cynthia Gallois, and Ms Vivienne McDonald, will partner with Diversicare on a project designed to find ways of improving connectedness in an ageing population. The project advances knowledge of how to best harness and develop identity resources for enhancing well-being among people ageing in a foreign land. The project’s findings will lead to training programs for migrant communities and health professionals and will inform policy on building Australia’s care capacity.
Proposal Summary: We know older people from diverse cultural backgrounds are vulnerable to social isolation as they age in a foreign land. What we lack is an understanding of the best approaches to get people connected and to protect their wellbeing. A mixed methods approach is used to: (a) identify the factors that contribute to social isolation and low wellbeing; (b) understand when and how engagement in ethnocultural and multicultural activities enhances social connectedness and well-being; and (c) evaluate and determine key principles underlying effective identity-based interventions. The intended outcome of the project is to inform a new policy model that harnesses identity resources to optimise their health-enhancing potential.
To find out more about the 3rd International Conference on Social Identity and Health, click here.