Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) Change processes in systemic family therapy; 2) Parental perspectives on the STOP parenting programme; 3) Exploring social identity processes in people with mental health difficulties

  • Naomi Mackett

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The impact of social identity on wellbeing has been explored extensively however, less attention has been given to the impact of a “mental health social identity”. Whilst research has suggested that social identification with groups can positively impact self-esteem and wellbeing, there are thought to be limitations to this when a group is negatively valued or has detrimental group norms. Furthermore, there has been limited examination of the development of a mental health social identity over time. Here, the social identification of two groups, those who had recently identified as having a mental health difficulty and those with more established mental health difficulties, were compared to examine social identity processes across different time points. This comparison was undertaken as where deductive processes might be expected at the outset of mental health social identity; inductive processes might be expected later on. These processes would be expected to have different impacts on individuals. The impact of social identification processes in this population in terms of self-esteem and wellbeing was also explored. Results indicated that there was no difference in the extent of social identification between the two groups. The development of social identification in this sample was found to be dependent on the amount of contact others had with people with mental health difficulties and mediated by the perceived quality of this contact, highlighting the importance of intragroup contact in social identification in non-entitative groups. Furthermore, social identification differentially predicted individuals’ self-esteem. Identity satisfaction positively predicted individuals’ self-esteem, whilst identity centrality negatively predicted self-esteem. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed.
Date of Award16 Sept 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorCathy Randle-Phillips (Supervisor), Catherine Butler (Supervisor), Cara Davis (Supervisor) & Lorna Hogg (Supervisor)

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