Social Identity Approaches

Built on the foundations of social identity theory (Tajfel, 1974) and self-categorisation theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher and Wetherell, 1987), social cure researchers argue that social identification with a group is an important predictor of positive health outcomes.

This page signposts the reader towards a range of resources on the topic of Social Identity Approaches. Within this reading list and resources there is a focus on Social Identity and health and in particular, the use of physical activity in health promotion activities.

Key Texts

Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., Dingle, G., & Haslam, S. A. (2018). The New Psychology of Health. Unlocking the Social Cure. Routledge. 

Haslam, S. A., Fransen, K., & Boen, F. (Eds.). (2020). The New Psychology of Sport and Exercise: The Social Identity Approach. SAGE

Related Content

International Conference on Social Identity and Health 5 (2022) - conference notes

Further Reading

Beauchamp, M. R. (2019). Promoting Exercise Adherence Through Groups: A Self-Categorization Theory Perspective. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 47(1), 54-61. doi: 10.1249/JES.000000000000017 

Bentley, S. V., Greenaway, K. H., Haslam, S. A., Cruwys, T., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, C., & Cull, B. (2020). Social identity mapping online. Journal of personality and social psychology, 118(2), 213. 

Bruner, M. W., Dunlop, W. L., & Beauchamp, M. R. (2014). A social identity perspective on group processes in sport and exercise. In M.R. Beauchamp and M.A. Eys Group dynamics in exercise and sport psychology (2nd Ed.). Routledge. 38-52. 

Cameron, J. E., Voth, J., Jaglal, S. B., Guilcher, S. J., Hawker, G., & Salbach, N. M. (2018). “In this together”: Social identification predicts health outcomes (via self-efficacy) in a chronic disease self-management program. Social Science & Medicine, 208, 172-179.

Cruwys, T., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Rathbone, J. A., & Donaldson, J. L. (2022). Acceptability and Feasibility of an Intervention to Enhance Social Group Belonging: Evidence From Three Trials of Groups 4 Health. Behavior Therapy, 53(6), 1233-1249. 

Cruwys, T., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., & Dingle, G. A. (2016). Social Identity Mapping: A procedure for visual representation and assessment of subjective multiple group memberships. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55(4), 613-642. 

Evans, M. B., McLaren, C., Budziszewski, R., & Gilchrist, J. (2018). When a sense of “we” shapes the sense of “me”: exploring how groups impact running identity and behavior. Self and Identity, 1-20.  

Draper, G., & Dingle, G. A. (2021). “It’s not the same”: A comparison of the psychological needs satisfied by musical group activities in face to face and virtual modes. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. 

Drury, J., Carter, H., Cocking, C., Ntontis, E., Tekin Guven, S., & Amlôt, R. (2019). Facilitating collective psychosocial resilience in the public in emergencies: Twelve recommendations based on the social identity approach. Frontiers in public health, 7, 141. 

Fong, P., Cruwys, T., Robinson, S. L., Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Mance, P. L., & Fisher, C. L. (2021). Evidence that loneliness can be reduced by a whole-of-community intervention to increase neighbourhood identification. Social Science & Medicine, 277, 113909. 

Grant, F., Hogg, M. A., & Crano, W. D. (2015). Yes, we can: Physical activity and group identification among healthy adults. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(7), 383-390. 

Greenaway, K. H., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., & Jetten, J. (2016). Social identities promote well‐being because they satisfy global psychological needs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(3), 294-307. 

Greenaway, K. H., Haslam, S. A., Cruwys, T., Branscombe, N. R., Ysseldyk, R., & Heldreth, C. (2015). From “we” to “me”: Group identification enhances perceived personal control with consequences for health and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(1), 53–74.

Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Steffens, N. K. (2021). Life Change, Social Identity, and Health. Annual Review of Psychology, 72, 1–27.   

Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Haslam, S. A., Dingle, G., & Chang, M. X. L. (2016). Groups 4 Health: Evidence that a social-identity intervention that builds and strengthens social group membership improves mental health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 194, 188-195.

Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Bentley, S. (2019). Group life shapes the psychology and biology of health: The case for a sociopsychobiological model. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(8), 1–16. 

Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Reynolds, K. J. (2012). Identity, influence, and change: Rediscovering John Turner's vision for social psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51(2), 201-218. 

Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Jetten, J., Cruwys, T., & Bentley, S. V. (2020). Rethinking the nature of the person at the heart of the biopsychosocial model: Exploring social changeways not just personal pathways. Social Science & Medicine, 113566. 

Haslam, S. A., Haslam, C., Cruwys, T., Jetten, J., Bentley, S. V., Fong, P., & Steffens, N. K. (2022). Social identity makes group-based social connection possible: Implications for loneliness and mental health. Current Opinion in Psychology, 43, 161-165. 

Häusser, J. A., Junker, N. M., & van Dick, R. (2020). The how and the when of the social cure: A conceptual model of group‐and individual‐level mechanisms linking social identity to health and well‐being. European Journal of Social Psychology, 50(4), 721-732.  

Hogg, M. A. (2001). A social identity theory of leadership. Personality and social psychology review, 5(3), 184-200. 

Hogg, M. A., & Williams, K. D. (2000). From I to we: Social identity and the collective self. Group dynamics: Theory, research, and practice, 4(1), 81. 

Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social identity theory and self‐categorization theory: A historical review. Social and personality psychology compass, 2(1), 204-222. 

Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Haslam, S.A.(2012). The social cure: Identity, health and well-being. Psychology Press.

Kyprianides, A., Easterbrook, M. J., & Brown, R. (2019). Group identities benefit well-being by satisfying needs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 84,103836.    

Martiny, S. E., Roth, J., Jelenec, P., Steffens, M. C., & Croizet, J. C. (2012). When a new group identity does harm on the spot: Stereotype threat in newly created groups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(1), 65-71. 

Oyserman, D., Fryberg, S. A., & Yoder, N. (2007). Identity-based motivation and health. Journal of personality and social psychology, 93(6), 1011. 

Platow, M. J., Grace, D. M., & Smithson, M. J. (2012). Examining the preconditions for psychological group membership: Perceived social interdependence as the outcome of self-categorization. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(1), 5-13. 

Portman, R. M., Levy, A. R., Mooney, K. M., Whittaker, E. M., & Fairclough, S. J. (2019). Towards an understanding of the social identity approach in exercise referral schemes: A brief commentary. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 15(11), 25–30. 

Reicher, S. D., Haslam, S. A., & Platow, M. J. (2018). Shared social identity in leadership. Current Opinion in Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.08.006

Reynolds, K. J., Branscombe, N. R., Suba, E., & Willis, L. (2020). Changing Behavior Using Social Identity Processes. In M. Hagger, L. Cameron, K. Hamilton, N. Hankonen, & T. Lintunen (Eds.), The Handbook of Behaviour Change (pp. 225–236). 

Rowe, L. F., & Slater, M. J. (2021). Will ‘we’ continue to exercise? The associations between group identification, identity leadership, and relational identification on group exercise class adherence. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 6 (3), 670-681. 

Salice, A., & Miyazono, K. (2020). Being one of us. Group identification, joint actions, and collective intentionality. Philosophical Psychology, 33(1), 42-63. 

Sherif, M. (1936). The psychology of social norms. 

Spears, R., Doosje, B., & Ellemers, N. (1999). Commitment and the context of social perception. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity: Context, commitment, content (pp. 59-83). Oxford, England: Blackwell Science.

Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Schuh, S. C., Jetten, J., & van Dick, R. (2017). A meta-analytic review of social identification and health in organizational contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(4), 303-335. 

Steffens, N. K., Rue, C. J. La, Haslam, C., Walter, Z. C., Munt, K. A., Haslam, S. A., … Tarrant, M. (2019). Social identification-building interventions to improve health : A systematic review and meta- analysis. Health Psychology Review, 0(0), 1–66. 

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Haslam, S. A., Steffens, N. K., & Polman, R. (2018). Leaders promote attendance in sport and exercise sessions by fostering social identity. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 28(9), 2100-2108.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2017). A social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine, 47(10), 1911-1918. 

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2020). Leading us to be active: A two-wave test of relationships between identity leadership, group identification, and attendance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 9(1), 128.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., & Cruwys, T. (2021). Social identity leadership in sport and exercise: Current status and future directions. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 55, 101931. 

Stevens, M., Cruwys, T., Rees, T., Haslam, S.A., H., Boen, F., & Fransen, K. (2020). Physical activity. In S.A. Haslam, K. Fransen, & F. Boen (Eds.). The new psychology of sport and exercise: The social identity approach (pp. 167-186). SAGE.

Stevens, M., White, S., Robertson, A. M., & Cruwys, T. (2022). Repeated exercise class attendance: The role of class members' similarity and social identification. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 61, 102212.   

Strachan, S. M., Shields, C. A., Glassford, A., & Beatty, J. (2012). Role and group identity and adjustment to the possibility of running group disbandment. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13(4), 436-443. 

Stuart, A., Stevenson,C., Koschate, M., Cohen, J., Levine , M. (2021) ‘Oh no, not a group!’ The factors that lonely or isolated people report as barriers to joining groups for health and well-being. British Journal of Health Psychology 

Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Information (International Social Science Council), 13(2), 65-93.

Tarrant, M., & Butler, K. (2011). Effects of self‐categorization on orientation towards health. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50(1), 121-139. 

Tarrant, M., Haslam, C., Carter, M., Calitri, R., & Haslam, S. (2020). Social Identity Interventions. In M. Hagger, L. Cameron, K. Hamilton, N. Hankonen, & T. Lintunen (Eds.), The Handbook of Behavior Change (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology, pp. 649-660). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Terry, D. J., & Hogg, M. A. (1996). Group norms and the attitude-behavior relationship: A role for group identification. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 22(8), 776-793. 

Turner, J.C., Hogg, M.A., Oakes, P.J., Reicher, S.D., Wetherell, M.S. (1987) Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell.

Turner, J. C., & Reynolds, K. J. (2011). Self-categorization theory. Handbook of theories in social psychology, 2(1), 399-417.

Wakefield, J. R. H., Bowe, M., Kellezi, B., McNamara, N., & Stevenson, C. (2019). When groups help and when groups harm: Origins, developments, and future directions of the “Social Cure” perspective of group dynamics. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(3), 1–13. 

Wakefield, J. R. H., Kellezi, B., Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Bowe, M., Wilson, I., ... & Mair, E. (2020). Social Prescribing as ‘Social Cure’: A longitudinal study of the health benefits of social connectedness within a Social Prescribing pathway. Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105320944991.    

Williams, K. D. (2009). Ostracism: A temporal need‐threat model. Advances in experimental social psychology, 41, 275-314. 

Social Identity Researchers on Twitter