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Groups are key to good health
Date:9/10/2009

cognitive difficulties (e.g., problems with memory and language). After their stroke, people's life satisfaction increased by 12% for every group membership that they were able to retain.

  • A 2009 study (in press at Ageing and Society) of residents entering a new care home. This showed that those who participated as a group in decisions related to the decoration of communal areas used those areas 57% more over the next month and were far happier as a result. In contrast, the use of space by residents in a control group declined by 60%. Moreover, these differences were still apparent three months later.

  • Another 2009 study (under review at Psychology and Aging) looked at the impact of group interventions on the health and well-being of 73 people residing in care. After a period of six weeks the researchers found that people who took part in a reminiscence group showed a 12% increase in their memory performance, while those who received individual reminiscence or a control intervention showed no change.

  • Another 2009 study (in press at the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology) also studied nursing home residents and looked at the relationship between their sense of identity and well-being and the severity of their dementia. The study's key finding was that a strong sense of identity associated with perceived membership of social groups, was a much better predictor of residents' well-being than their level of dementia.

    Summarising this and other work in the article, Professor Jolanda Jetten from the University of Queensland commented: "New research shows just how important groups and social identity are to well-being. This is something that people often overlook in the rush to find medical solutions to problems associated with ageing, but it is time that these factors were taken much more seriously".

    Dr Catherine Haslam of the University of Exeter, another of the works' co-
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  • Contact: Sarah Hoyle
    s.hoyle@exeter.ac.uk
    44-139-226-2062
    University of Exeter
    Source:Eurekalert

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