Can a local community course improve mental wellbeing and social connection? New RCT findings

Director for Action for Happiness, Mark Williamson, outlines findings from a Randomised Controlled Trial with our Cross-cutting Methods Evidence team. The trial looked at both self-reported wellbeing and biological outcomes for participants in a local community course ‘Exploring What Matters’.

There is a growing evidence base on how place-based interventions can impact our wellbeing, including this evidence review from the Centre.

Key findings

The course significantly increased subjective wellbeing measures in:

  • life satisfaction by 63% of a standard deviation

  • happiness by 60%

  • worthwhileness by 49%

While anxiousness significantly decreased by 47%.

There is some evidence that effects are sustained (or even enhanced) two months after participation.

Impacts on biological outcomes are less clear.

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