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People can derive health benefits from social group memberships. However, joining groups can be difficult for people experiencing psychosis due to the social impacts of the condition and public and internalised stigma. We interviewed a diverse group of 26 people experiencing psychosis and explored through thematic analysis their perceptions of how psychosis influenced social identity processes. Participants confirmed both the impact of psychosis on group processes and the value of group memberships for wellbeing. Empathy, understanding, and lack of judgement were perceived to be critical for group formation. Participants sought social validation in both pre-existing and new relationships, including from others experiencing psychosis. A novel finding was the compartmentalising of the psychosis identity to facilitate periods of either greater connection or social mobility dependent on current mental state. Thus, this study suggests nuance to the application of the Social Cure for a highly stigmatised, yet fluctuating, condition such as psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-734
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Formal ethical approval for this study was provided by a UK university Department of Psychology Research Ethics Committee (approval number 17‐136), and from the UK National Health Service NHS Integrated Research Application System IRAS, (project ID 220312).



  • psychosis
  • social identity
  • stigma
  • thematic analyses
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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