Why are groups good for us? Social determinants of well-being behind bars and beyond

Kyprianides, Sofia-Anna-Arabella (2019) Why are groups good for us? Social determinants of well-being behind bars and beyond. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (2MB)


This thesis investigates the social determinants of well-being, behind bars and beyond. Through a series of four papers, it empirically tests some of the theoretical claims made by the social identity approach to health (also known as The Social Cure; C. Haslam, Jetten, Cruwys, Dingle, & Haslam, 2018a) which proposes that our social connections and, in particular, our social identity, lies at the heart of our well-being; and advances its applications by investigating its applicability amongst criminal offenders. Although research has highlighted the importance of differentiating between different types of social ties (C. Haslam, Cruwys, Milne, Kan, & Haslam, 2016a), Chapter 2 extends this by demonstrating experimentally that group ties are especially beneficial because they are internalized as part of a person’s social identity and, through this, provide a basis for beneficial forms of connectedness and self-worth. Furthermore, applied social cure research has demonstrated that group ties can protect people from adverse life experiences (C. Haslam et al., 2018a). Chapters 3, 4, and 5 provide the first investigation of the social cure amongst offenders. My findings make a novel contribution to the imprisonment and resettlement literatures that offer little insight into the impact that group ties have on adjustment, and the mechanisms through which group ties impact offender well-being. Chapter 3 demonstrates that strong prisoner ties and membership in groups are associated with greater prisoner well-being, and identifies psychological needs and group contact as explanatory mechanisms. Chapter 4 demonstrates that ex-prisoners have social stigma attached to them, and this can have negative consequences; but Chapter 5 shows that even in the case of stigmatized groups (prisoners), if the ‘right’ identities are part of these individuals’ social worlds, groups can be curative. Theoretical and practical implications of my findings are discussed, which open up interesting avenues for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Paper-based PhD
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology > BF0637 Special topics A-Z > BF0637.C5 Conduct of life
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0711 Groups and organisations > HM0716 Social groups. Group dynamics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2019 06:02
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2019 06:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83015

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update