How participation in Covid‐19 mutual aid groups affects subjective well‐being and how political identity moderates these effects

Journal article


Mao, G., Drury, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M. and Ntontis, E. 2021. How participation in Covid‐19 mutual aid groups affects subjective well‐being and how political identity moderates these effects. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. https://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12275
AuthorsMao, G., Drury, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M. and Ntontis, E.
Abstract

Mutual aid groups have flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a major challenge is sustaining such groups, which tend to decline following the initial upsurge immediately after emergencies. The present study investigates one possible motivation for continued participation: the well-being benefits associated with psychological membership of groups, as suggested by the “social cure” approach. Interviews were conducted with 11 volunteers in a mutual aid group organized by ACORN, a community union and anti-poverty campaigning organization. Through qualitative analysis, we show that participation provided well-being in different ways: positive emotional experiences, increased engagement in life, improved social relationships, and greater sense of control. Participants also reported some negative emotional experiences. While all interviewees experienced benefits from participation, those who viewed their participation through a political lens were able to experience additional benefits such as feelings of empowerment. Moreover, the benefits conferred by a shared political identity appeared to be qualitatively different from the benefits conferred by other forms of shared identity. The interview data is used to hypothesize an overall process by which participants may come to attain a political identity via mutual aid. These findings have implications for how such groups retain their members and how authorities support these groups.

KeywordsCOVID-19; Mutual aid groups; Political identity; Activism; Mental health; Social cure; Social identity; Subjective wellbeing
Year2021
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
PublisherWiley
ISSN1529-7489
1530-2415
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12275
Official URLhttps://spssi.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/asap.12275
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Publication dates
Online21 Oct 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Aug 2021
Deposited06 Dec 2021
Publisher's version
License
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8z81w/how-participation-in-covid-19-mutual-aid-groups-affects-subjective-well-being-and-how-political-identity-moderates-these-effects

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