Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Participation in mass gatherings can benefit well-being: longitudinal and control data from a North Indian Hindu pilgrimage event

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Shruti Tewari, Sammyh Khan, Nick Hopkins, Narayanan Srinivasan, Stephen David Reicher

School/Research organisations

Abstract

How does participation in a long-duration mass gathering (such as a pilgrimage event) impact well-being? There are good reasons to believe such collective events pose risks to health. There are risks associated with communicable diseases. Moreover, the physical conditions at such events (noise, crowding, harsh conditions) are often detrimental to well-being. Yet, at the same time, social psychological research suggests participation in group-related activities can impact well-being positively, and we therefore investigated if participating in a long-duration mass gathering can actually bring such benefits. In our research we studied one of the world's largest collective events – a demanding month-long Hindu religious festival in North India. Participants (comprising 416 pilgrims who attended the gathering for the whole month of its duration, and 127 controls who did not) completed measures of self-assessed well-being and symptoms of ill-health at two time points. The first was a month before the gathering commenced, the second was a month after it finished. We found that those participating in this collective event reported a longitudinal increase in well-being relative to those who did not participate. Our data therefore imply we should reconceptualise how mass gatherings impact individuals. Although such gatherings can entail significant health risks, the benefits for well-being also need recognition. Indeed, an exclusive focus on risk is misleading and limits our understanding of why such events may be so attractive. More importantly, as our research is longitudinal and includes a control group, our work adds robust evidence to the social psychological literature concerning the relationship between participation in social group activities and well-being.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47291
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2012

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. The evolving normative dimensions of "riot": toward an elaborated social identity explanation

    Stott, C., Ball, R., Drury, J., Neville, F., Reicher, S., Boardman, A. & Choudhury, S. 7 May 2018 In : European Journal of Social Psychology. Early View

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Representing other minds: mental state reference is moderated by group membership

    McClung, J. S. & Reicher, S. D. May 2018 In : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 76, p. 385-392

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Social identity and health at mass gatherings

    Hopkins, N. & Reicher, S. D. Dec 2017 In : European Journal of Social Psychology. 47, 7, p. 867-877

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. “La beauté est dans la rue”: four reasons (or perhaps five) to study crowds

    Reicher, S. 1 Sep 2017 In : Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. 20, 5, p. 593-605 13 p.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. Young children fail to generate an additive ratchet effect in an open-ended construction task

    Reindl, E. & Tennie, C. 18 Jun 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 6, 22 p., e0197828

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Autophagic flux blockage by accumulation of weakly basic tenovins leads to elimination of B-Raf mutant tumour cells that survive vemurafenib

    Ladds, M. J. G. W., Pastor-Fernández, A., Popova, G., van Leeuwen, I. M. M., Eng, K. E., Drummond, C. J., Johansson, L., Svensson, R., Westwood, N. J., McCarthy, A. R., Tholander, F., Popa, M., Lane, D. P., McCormack, E., McInerney, G. M., Bhatia, R. & Laín, S. 23 Apr 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 4, 21 p., e0195956

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. The crystal structure of the Leishmania infantum Silent Information Regulator 2 related protein 1: implications to protein function and drug design

    Ronin, C., Costa, D. M., Tavares, J., Faria, J., Ciesielski, F., Ciapetti, P., Smith, T. K., MacDougall, J., Cordeiro-da-Silva, A. & Pemberton, I. K. 15 Mar 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 3, 26 p., e0193602

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Primate social attention: species differences and effects of individual experience in humans, great apes, and macaques

    Kano, F., Shepherd, S. V., Hirata, S. & Call, J. 23 Feb 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 2, 25 p., e0193283

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  5. Sociability between invasive guppies and native topminnows

    Camacho-Cervantes, M., Ojanguren, A. F., Domínguez-Domínguez, O. & Magurran, A. E. 14 Feb 2018 In : PLoS One. 13, 2, 9 p., e0192539

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. PLoS One (Journal)

    Young, S. (Reviewer)
    7 Jun 201719 Jun 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. PLoS One (Journal)

    Hughes, D. J. (Reviewer)
    2014 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  3. PLoS One (Journal)

    Smith, T. K. (Member of editorial board)
    2014 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  4. PLoS One (Journal)

    Ozakinci, G. (Editor)
    2013

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  5. PLoS One (Journal)

    Williams, D. J. (Reviewer)
    2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

ID: 38018708