Having strong social connections and relationships is one of the most important ingredients to living a happy, healthy, and long life. My own work documents various ways in which groups enhance well-being and social functioning. In some of my research I investigate the benefits of group identity for improving group functioning, including enhancing communication and productivity (Greenaway, Wright, Willingham, Reynolds, & Haslam, 2015).
The Social Cure
In other work that plugs into the broader research agenda of The Social Cure, my research shows how identifying with groups has a range of positive health effects, including lowering depression and stress and increasing life satisfaction (Cruwys, South, Greenaway, & Haslam, 2015). Linking with my work on agency, I find that groups enhance feelings of personal control, which is a major predictor of positive health outcomes (Greenaway, Haslam, Cruwys, Branscombe, Ysseldyk, & Heldreth, in press). It is through this process of enhanced control that group identification acts to protect health and well-being, even in the most challenging life circumstances.