Happy Hookers: findings from an international study exploring the effects of crochet on wellbeing

Perspect Public Health. 2021 May;141(3):149-157. doi: 10.1177/1757913920911961. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Abstract

Aims: With rising rates of mental health disorders being reported globally, it is imperative that we investigate economical and accessible ways to increase relaxation and reduce stress. While there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence as to the positive effects of domestic crafts on mental wellbeing, there is little empirical research in this area. As such, we aimed to explore perceived links between crochet and wellbeing.

Methods: An online survey was developed and piloted, based on an existing tool that explored knitting and wellbeing. The final survey was promoted through social media, over a 6-week period, resulting in valid responses from 8391 individuals.

Results: Most respondents were female (99.1%), aged between 41 and 60 years (49.5%) and living in 87 different countries. Many respondents reported crocheting for between 1 and 5 years (42.6%). The three most frequent reasons reported for crocheting were: to be creative (82.1%), to relax (78.5%) and for a sense of accomplishment (75.2%). Respondents reported that crochet made them feel calmer (89.5%), happier (82%) and more useful (74.7%). There was a significant improvement in reported scores for mood before crocheting (M = 4.19, SD = 1.07) and mood after crocheting (M = 5.78, SD = 0.82); z = -69.86, p < .001, r = -0.56. Content analysis of free-text responses identified five major themes: (1) health benefits, (2) process of crochet, (3) personal connection, (4) crochet as contribution and (5) online crochet communities.

Conclusion: The data suggests that crochet offers positive benefits for personal wellbeing with many respondents actively using crochet to manage mental health conditions and life events such as grief, chronic illness and pain. Crochet is a relatively low-cost, portable activity that can be easily learnt and seems to convey all of the positive benefits provided by knitting. This research suggests that crochet can play a role in promoting positive wellbeing in the general population, adding to the social prescribing evidence base.

Keywords: craft; crochet; health promotion; social prescribing; wellbeing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires