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Applying the social cure approach to the context of online dance classes

Past project


Dance/Connect was a partnership of University College London, University of Edinburgh, and Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance. We explored if and how 8-weeks of online dance classes could support young people (aged 16-24) living with anxiety. In particular, we applied the 'social cure approach' (a social identity approach to health) to explore the role of 'the group' in supporting the wellbeing of youth. We also employed a coproduced design and worked in partnership with a youth advisory on the design, delivery, analysis, and dissemination of the work.

The study was mixed-methods. Qualitative analysis identified two overarching themes demonstrating how the dance classes (i) provided the opportunity to co-construct a meaningful shared identity and (ii) supported holistic wellbeing. The quantitative findings supported this, suggesting lower anxiety, depression, and loneliness and higher wellbeing, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and group closeness. The study expands the social cure to an online dance context for the first time. Read the full paper.

We also found that the youth advisory constructed meaningful emotional experiences, fostered spaces of learning and growth, and enabled a sense of community. We collaborate with young people to write up these experiences, also making recommendations for other arts and health researchers working with young people. Read the full paper.

This research was funded by the UKRI Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network.


/ Dr Katey Warran

University College London / University of Edinburgh

/ Dr Laura Wright

University of Edinburgh

/ Dr Karen Mak

University College London

/ Dr Saoirse Finn

University College London

/ Emili Åström

Dance Base

Exploring the interconnections between public health, the arts, theory, and sociology.
Contact us today to learn more about who we are and how to get involved with the PATHS Research Group.

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