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Research Article

Participation in Mass Gatherings Can Benefit Well-Being: Longitudinal and Control Data from a North Indian Hindu Pilgrimage Event

  • Shruti Tewari,

    Affiliation: Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

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  • Sammyh Khan,

    Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

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  • Nick Hopkins mail,

    n.p.hopkins@dundee.ac.uk

    Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

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  • Narayanan Srinivasan,

    Affiliation: Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

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  • Stephen Reicher

    Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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  • Published: October 17, 2012
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047291

Reader Comments (2)

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Collective Social Gathering: Active Participants vs Passive Participants

Posted by dgupta on 28 Apr 2013 at 05:38 GMT

The authors should be applauded for studying the effects of collective social gathering on state of well-being among the pilgrims. However, I have few questions. First of all, even though the control group did not attend the social gathering, I suspect the comparative analysis with non-vacationing controls might have elicited bias in the results irrespective of the fact that "vacationing" pilgrims faced hardships during the pilgrimage. Secondly, the reasons why controls did not visit social gathering need to be documented so as to elicit whether enduring hardships during the month-long pilgrimage was the reason underlying their decision to not attend social gathering. This may be important so as to delineate that subgroup of controls for better comparison because comparison with the controls who never intended to go on month-long pilgrimage cannot confirm the effects of large collective social gathering that involve hardships. Thirdly, the study group's (pilgrims') level of participation in the pilgrimage activities would have further elicited whether active participation with pro-active social interaction trumps passive participation with imbibed silence in sea of human population for inducing good results in terms of pilgrims' well-being after the completion of month-long social gathering. It will be interesting to know whether the so-called passive participation might not have been passive at all in the context of over-crowded places and high-decibel environments with constant personal sensitisation for presence of human sea. In summary, there are still quite a few unanswered questions but this paper is a definite good start.

No competing interests declared.