University of Sussex
the-mediating-role-of-social-connectedness-and-hope-in-the-relationship-between-group-membership-continuity-and-mental-health-problems-in-vulnerable-young-people.pdf (427.18 kB)

The mediating role of social connectedness and hope in the relationship between group membership continuity and mental health problems for vulnerable young people

Download (427.18 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-09, 15:01 authored by Claire VellaClaire Vella, Clio BerryClio Berry, Matthew EasterbrookMatthew Easterbrook, Daniel Michelson, Leanne Bogen-Johnston, David FowlerDavid Fowler
Background & Aims There is growing evidence of the beneficial effect of social group processes for well-being and mental health. Research is needed to investigate the role of group membership continuity in reducing mental ill-health amongst young people who were already vulnerable pre-pandemic. Moreover, research is needed to understand the social and psychological mechanisms of the benefits of group memberships for vulnerable young people. Design & Methods This study takes a cross-sectional design, using survey data from a sample of 105 young people aged 16-35, collected approximately one year after the global COVID-19 outbreak (January-July 2021). Correlational and path analyses were used to test the associations between group membership continuity and mental health problems (depression, anxiety, psychotic-like experiences), and the mediation of these associations by hope and social connectedness (in-person and online). To correct for multiple testing, the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure was implemented for all analyses. Indirect effects were assessed with a coverage of 99% CI’s. Results Prior multiple group memberships were associated with the preservation of group memberships during the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person social connectedness, online social connectedness and hope mediated the relationship between group membership continuity and mental health problem symptoms. Conclusions The results suggest that clinical and public health practice should support vulnerable young people to foster and maintain their social group memberships, hopefulness and perceived sense of social connectedness as a means to help prevent exacerbated symptoms and promote recovery of mental health problems, particularly during significant life events.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


BJPsych Open




Cambridge University Press





Article number


Department affiliated with

  • Primary Care and Public Health Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected