Reading Well evidence base
There is a strong evidence base that reading can improve your health and wellbeing. Through thorough annual evaluation of the scheme, as well as several strong case studies, we are able to show the positive impact of Reading Well on individuals.
Reading Well and Mood-boosting Books take the following guidelines and studies into account.
National Institute for Care and Excellence guidelines
For Reading Well for mental health we used National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines, which recommend the effectiveness of self-help based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the following areas: Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults: management [CG113], Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder: treatment [CG31], Post-traumatic stress disorder: management [CG26], Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment and treatment [CG159], Depression in adults: recognition and management [CG90], and Eating disorders: recognition and treatment [NG69].
For Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia the evidence base for self-help books was less developed. We therefore adopted a more general approach that critically examined the role of books and psycho-educational materials in enhancing care standards as identified by NICE and key charities in promoting the quality of dementia services.
There are two main sources of NICE guidance that are relevant to Reading Well for long term conditions. There have been several general guidelines about LTCs, together with care planning for older people. There are also condition-specific NICE guidelines (for example arthritis [CG79], diabetes [CG87], which cover the majority of conditions relevant to our list.
Visit the NICE guidelines website for further information on how these guidelines were formed.
Guided and unguided self-help
Evidence indicates that guided self-help works and is more effective than unguided self-help. Whilst there does need to be more research into unguided self-help including books, the research supports the idea that unguided self-help is effective.
Whilst support and guidance increases the effectiveness of self-help, books alone are also helpful. They are a cost effective way of delivering information, a technique of proven effectiveness used by professionals and are a springboard into further professional help.
See a selection of self-help studies here.
Books on Prescription model
There is growing evidence to suggest that the Books on Prescription model is an effective method of delivering self -help reading. The results of several studies have demonstrated therapeutic effects, and cost efficiencies.
See our collected evidence base for the Books on Prescription model here.
There is evidence that reading novels and poetry can reduce stress and boost your mood. This evidence is important to us for Mood-boosting books as well as the Dementia list and Young people's mental health list which both contain fiction.
See our collected evidence base for Creative reading and health and wellbeing here.
Social reading activity can promote wellbeing, combat isolation and bring people together in supportive communities. This evidence is important to us because of the work The Reading Agency does around Reading Groups.
See our collected evidence base for Reading Groups and health and wellbeing here.
The health and wellbeing value of public libraries
Public libraries play an important role in the health and wellbeing. The Public Library Health Offer is a strategy which expresses the public library contribution to the positive health and wellbeing of local communities. It is a strategy developed by Libraries Connected (formerly the Society of Chief Librarians) in partnership with The Reading Agency.
See our collected evidence base for the health and wellbeing value of public libraries here.