Perception of Group Cohesion
Mirta Vranko; Dolores Novak; Tihana Jendriko
University Psychiatric Hospital Vrape
Department for Psychotherapy celebrated this year
first anniversary of its activity. The Department is
designed in a way that hospitalized patients through
group therapy participate in all the proposed
activities, and are also involved in the group analysis,
psychotherapy, social skills training, logotherapy, art
therapy, occupational therapy, sociotherapy, medical
gymnastics and medical relaxation.
Study participants are people who are being treated
in the hospital treatment of the Department for
Psychotherapy and in daily hospital, in the period
from the beginning of February to the end of April
The goal of the research is to gain insight into the
connection of the current group cohesion due to the
diagnostic criteria and forms of treatment.
Paper is theoretically grounded in the theory of
group cohesion. Cartwright and Zander (1962) and
Lewin, Lippett and White (1939, as cited in Dion,
2000) were some of the first to define cohesion, both
noting cohesion was a force which acted upon the
group members. Others have agreed with that
definition further calling cohesion the resultant
forces which are acting on the members to stay in
the group (Festinger, 1950; Yalom & Leszcz, 2005),
or basic bond or uniting force (Piper, Marrache,
Lacroix, Richardsen & Jones, 1983).
Group approach in the treatment of mental disorders
goes back to the past, but it seems that today this
approach is more relevant than ever. Probably the
biggest advantage of group approach helps the
knowledge of the patient that he or she is not alone that there are other people who have similar
difficulties. In addition, the group provides an
opportunity to develop a social network and the
various processes of socialization and social support.
The group is like a "training ground" for the
development of new communication and social skills,
with the aim of transferring knowledge in other social
Yalom & Leszcz (1995) described it as the we-ness
of the group, the connectedness of the group,
demonstrated by working together toward a
common therapeutic goal (Budman et al., 1989), or
tendency for a group to stick together and remain
united in the pursuit of its goals and objectives
(Carron, 1982). Several authors have also proposed
the cohesion describes the individuals sense of
belonging to a group attraction to the group as a
whole (Frank, 1957) and more specifically, the
attractiveness of a group for its members (Evans &
Jarvis, 1980; Frank, 1957; Ribner, 1974; Roark &
data were collected anonymously,
accordance with the Principles of the Code of Ethics
under the Protection of Persons with Mental
The sample consisted of 51 participant (21,4% men
and 70,6% women). The average age of participants
in the study was 42,45 years. Forms of treatment in
which the participants are involved is out-hospital
care (51%) and in-hospital care (49%). The most
common diagnosis is depressive disorder (47,1%),
followed by the personality disorder (17,6%),
anxiety-depressive disorder (13,7%), psychosis
(11,8%), trauma and stress-related disorders
(5,9%), bipolar-affective disorder (2%) and the
organic affective disorder (2%).
The study used Group Cohesion Scale-Revised (GCSR; Treadwell et al., 2001). The GCS-R is a 25-item
questionnaire designed to assess group cohesion in
terms of interaction and communication among
grown up members (including domination and
subordination), member retention, decision-making,
vulnerability among group members, and consistency
between group and individual goals. Each item is
rated on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4
(strongly agree) . Examples of items include: Group
members usually feel free to share information,
There are usually feelings of unity and togetherness
among the group members, and Many members
engage in back-biting in this group. This scale was
recently revised (Treadwell et al., 2001) in order to
modify one item, discard another item, and change
the wording of the anchor points. In a validation
study, internal consistency (as measured by
Cronbachs alpha) ranged from .48 to .89 on pre-test
assessment and .77.90 on post-test assessment
(Treadwell et al., 2001).
The study measured group cohesion in two
psychotherapy groups: daily and in-hospital
treatment patients. There are no differences nor
significant correlations in group cohesion
considering gender or forms of treatment. Group
cohesion rating was single-point measured (M=
70,13, SE = 2,08). Therefore, we can conclude that
group cohesion is moderately strong. Participants
perceive strong relationships in both groups. There
are expressed feelings of unity and belonging. Also,
participants in both groups agree to jointly make
decisions during group treatment. Considering
vulnerability participants perceive group as a safe
place where they can freely speak and where the
rule of confidentiality is granted.
Results confirm our hypothesis that every group
build their own group cohesion whos power is
independible of treatment type or diagnostic
It appears that vulnerability, sense of belonging and
confidentiality are strenghts of participants in those
For the next research in this field, we propose using
Group Cohesion Scale-Revised in two points
measurement research design (pre-test post-test)
that aims to evaluate treatment.
Yalom, I. D., Lescz, M. (1995, 2005). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Cambridge: Basic Books.
Treadwell, T., Lavertue, N., Kumar, V. K., Veeraraghavan, V. (2001). The Group Cohesion Scale Revised: Realiability and
Validity. International Journal of Action Methods: Psychodrama, Skill Training and Role Playing. 54, 3-12.
Dion, K. L. (2000). Group Cohesion: from field of forces to multidimensional construct. Group Dynamics. 4, 7-26.
Piper, W. E. et al. (1983). Cohesion as a Basic Bond in Groups. Human Relations. 36, 93-108.
Budman, S. H. et al. (1989). Cohesion, Aliance, and Outcome in Group Psychotherapy. Psychiatry. 52, 339-350.
Carron, A. V. (1982). Cohesiveness in Sport Groups: Interpretations and Considerations. Journal of Sport Psychology. 4,
Roark, A. E., Sharah, H. S. (1989). Factors related to group cohesiveness. Small Group Behavior, 20, 62 69.
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