Mass Gatherings, Health, and Well-Being: From risk mitigation to health promotion

Nick Hopkins (Lead / Corresponding author), Stephen D. Reicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
141 Downloads (Pure)


Mass gatherings are routinely viewed as posing risks to physical health. However, social psychological research shows mass gathering participation can also bring benefits to psychological well-being. We describe how both sets of outcomes can be understood as arising from the distinctive forms of behavior that may be found when people—even strangers—come to define themselves and each other in terms of a shared social identity. We show that many of the risks and benefits of participation are products of group processes; that these different outcomes can have their roots in the same core processes; and that knowledge of these process provides a basis for health promotion interventions to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of participation. Throughout, we offer practical guidance as to how policy makers and practitioners should tailor such interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-145
Number of pages32
JournalSocial Issues and Policy Review
Issue number1
Early online date5 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • mass gathering medicine
  • mass gatherings
  • crowds
  • health
  • well-being
  • shared identity
  • social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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