Health and well-being are vital components for ensuring a person’s psychological functioning, engagement, and performance. Accordingly, it is important to know under which conditions people successfully protect and regulate their well-being and health in face of stressful situations or health risks.
To address the issue, this symposium focuses on social processes in groups and interpersonal relationships. For instance, people may support each other to behave in a healthy manner, they may feel connected to others in a group fostering their well-being, or they may compare their own health risks to those around them—all of which can influence their well-being and buffer stress.
That is, in the present symposium, we bring together multiple perspectives and methodological approaches to address how social processes influence well-being and health. We first take a social-organizational perspective, examining the benefits of social identification with a group or organization: Though certain social norms (creating performance pressure) or formal contexts (non-permanent work contracts) may impair well-being, social identification can protect against such threats. Turning to close relationships, also couples can mutually influence each other’s well-being. Specifically, partners may directly support each other’s health behavior (i.e., when quitting smoking) by providing each other with (positive) control; moreover, taking a biopsychological approach, couples may influence each other via more indirect processes (such as sleep quality and its benefits), as can be promoted even on the hormonal level (i.e., via oxytocin). Finally, people may often adequately respond to feedback about health risks by changing their daily behavior and the same time, showing a bias in comparing their own health risks compared to others’ risks. Bringing together these diverse approaches, we seek to gain a deeper understanding on when and how social processes can, indeed, promote and protect health and well-being.