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Social Prescribing: A Review of the Literature


This chapter presents an overview of interventions to address loneliness including individual therapies, group interventions and community-based approaches. We argue that individual cognitive behaviour therapy is neither necessary nor sufficient to address loneliness. Instead, we advocate for applying cognitive behaviour therapy strategies to help people overcome cognitive barriers to connecting with others, implemented within their social contexts. Such cognitive barriers include stigma, fear of negative evaluation and mistrust of others. The chapter describes some novel group and community approaches. The Groups 4 Health program for people experiencing loneliness (Haslam et al., J Consult Clin Psychol 87(9):787–801,, 2019) and Groups 4 Belonging program for people in addiction recovery (Dingle et al., Taking social identity into practice. In: Frings D (ed) Handbook of alcohol and alcoholism, Elsevier, London, 2020) help participants to overcome loneliness and social anxiety through reconnecting with existing groups and joining new groups that are meaningful to them. Another approach is social prescribing, which provides a non-clinical referral pathway for isolated people to engage with community groups that help to meet their social needs aligned with their interests (such as arts, exercise and educational groups). We summarise evidence that social prescribing to community groups is effective for managing loneliness in diverse populations.


  • Loneliness interventions
  • Social prescribing
  • Group programs
  • Stigma
  • Fear of negative evaluation
  • Mistrust

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Correspondence to Genevieve A. Dingle .

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Dingle, G.A., Sharman, L.S. (2022). Social Prescribing: A Review of the Literature. In: Menzies, R.G., Menzies, R.E., Dingle, G.A. (eds) Existential Concerns and Cognitive-Behavioral Procedures. Springer, Cham.

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