The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood: findings from an international survey.

Riley J, Corkhill B, Morris C, (2013)

Published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy February 2013

The initial overview sent to participants can be found here 

Stitchlinks has been collecting narratives since 2005 and continues to do so from knitters and crocheters around the world. These stories from people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures tell of how knitting and crochet have the power to transform people’s lives in profound ways. 

As part of work done with Research Occupational Therapist Dr Jill Riley and Professor of Psychology
Dr Ulrich von Hecker at Cardiff University in 2012 we themed the stories collected so far. This was invaluable in helping us form a number of theories from which we created a survey of knitters. 

We received an amazing response to our online knitting survey with over 3,500 responses from 39 countries in just under two weeks. This means we had a massive amount of data to sift through which enabled us to also look at issues such as how knitting affects those with depression or pain, for example. Dr Jill Riley and Betsan Corkhill presented the preliminary results at the Annual Conference for Occupational Therapy in Brighton, UK (June 2011) and at the International Wellbeing Conference in Birmingham (July 2011). 

Thanks to Professor of Statistics Clare Morris who helped us trawl through the vast amount of data. The resultant paper was published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy in February 2013  


Respondents came from a virtual community of knitters. The majority were female white adults and frequent knitters, who commonly reported knitting for relaxation, stress relief and creativity. The results show a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy. More frequent knitters also reported higher cognitive functioning. Knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact and communication with others.


Knitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to wellbeing and quality of life. As a skilled and creative occupation, it has therapeutic potential — an area requiring further research.

Riley J, Corkhill B, Morris C (2013) The benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing in adulthood: findings from an international survey. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(2),50-57.DOI:10.4 



Crochet… a little hook to improve attention?
A Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanning study of crocheters

Exploring the Effects of Knitting on the Experience of Chronic Pain.
A Poster presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Pain Society April 2009. 

Therapeutic Knitting Study Day, June 15th 2012
A study day on Therapeutic Knitting took place in Bath, UK on Friday June 15th 2012. It was hosted by Professor Paul Dieppe, Professor of Health and Wellbeing at Exeter University, UK and organised by Betsan Corkhill of Stitchlinks.
Please click here for a report on the day. 

Click here to read about the vast research potential 

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