Theraputic benefits of reading

The project aims to investigate the power of shared literature to improve mental health and address depressive symptoms in local primary care and community settings.

This 2-year pilot is studying the benefits to depression sufferers of Get into Reading - a reading model developed by The Reader Organisation - establishing reading groups in a GP surgery and a health drop-in centre in Liverpool. The project is a partnership between English, Primary Care and Health Sciences at University of Liverpool and The Reader Organisation, and has developed an innovative multidisciplinary approach to mental health research, integrating arts and science methodologies.

 Get Into Reading focuses on reading aloud in groups

Get Into Reading focuses on reading aloud in groups


The expertise of a clinician (Professor Chris Dowrick, specialising in depression), a social anthropologist (Dr Jude Robinson), a linguist (Dr Andrew Hamer) and a literary specialist (Dr Josie Billington) are combined in the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data relating to reading groups in primary care settings, studying the nature of the intervention (group dynamics, facilitator’s role, which literature works and why) and the outcome measures which will inform the design of future research. This project  is one of several being undertaken by University of Liverpool in collaboration with The Reader Organisation which received a special commendation ‘for contributions to the field of arts and mental health research’ from The Royal Society for Public Health (September 2009).

The final report on this study can be read here - Therapeutic Benefits of Reading

Contact: Dr J Billington