I recently had the opportunity to compare two different studies into the health benefits of crochet. I was thrilled to see that the two studies, completed entirely independently of one another, turned out similar results. This gives us great insight into the leading benefits of crochet, which are its ability to offer creativity and a sense of calm. Digging deeper, the studies also find other mental health benefits of crochet.
About the Crochet Health Benefits Studies
The first study was one that I completed in 2014. For those of you who are just getting to know me, I am the author of Crochet Saved My Life, a book about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. I appealed to fans of the book to provide additional information about how crochet heals them.
Four years later, in 2018, Australian researcher Pippa Burns from the University of Wollongong. She was working with Rosemary van Der Meer, conducting an anonymous online survey about the use of online crochet forums, exploring the ways in which crochet – particularly the social aspect of it – can help people.
There were many similarities between the two studies:
- They were both conducted through Survey Monkey.
- Approximately 8000 people completed each survey.
- Both surveys were completed almost entirely by female respondents.
- More than 50% of the 2018 survey respondents were between ages 41-60. Similarly, the 2014 survey included 34% between ages 36-50 and another 35% between ages 51-60.
- In both studies, a majority of respondents crocheted daily.
There were also a few differences:
The 2014 survey had approximately 1/3 the number of questions as the survey from 2018. The 2018 survey had respondents from more than 75 countries. This was significantly more than the 2014 survey, which primarily had US respondents with about 25% coming from either Europe or Australia.
Additionally, the 2018 study found that 58% of people had been crocheting between 1-10 years. The 2014 study had 20% that had been crocheting for 2-5 years, and another 20% that had been crocheting more than 30 years, so there was a greater range in that study.
Reasons People Crochet
The studies both asked people why they crochet. The question wasn’t directly linked to mental health, but the answers revealed that positive feelings associated with mental health are clear motivations for crocheting. The top three answers from the 2018 study were:
- Sense of Accomplishment
78-85% of respondents cited those as the reasons that they crochet. This speaks to the benefits of crochet specifically (and the benefit of all crafts more generally.) Self-expression, reduced stress, and boosted self-esteem all help people dealing with a variety of mental health conditions.
Mental Health Benefits of Crochet
The studies both specifically looked at the benefits of crochet as well. Instead of asking “why do you crochet?” these questions ask “what are the benefits of crochet?” This change of phrase provides deeper information into how craft helps to heal us. The 2018 study found that the biggest cited benefits were:
- Calmness (90%)
- Happiness (82%)
- Improved memory (74%)
- Improved concentration (71%).
The results of the 2014 study were similar: creativity, focused attention, sense of purpose, and self-esteem (65% – 92%). Furthermore, asked to specifically define the number one healing benefit of the craft, 46% chose “calming, relaxing, stress-reduction” and another 34% said “creative outlet.”
My own study looked more specifically at the ways in which crochet helped with specific ailments. 89% again said stress-relief or relaxation. This is no small thing. Stress causes, or at least exacerbates, a wide range of both physical and mental health conditions. If we can find affordable, accessible ways to reduce stress – such as crafting – then we can help mitigate some of those problems.
Crochet for Depression and Anxiety
However, my study went beyond that and found that there are two specific mental health conditions that people alleviate with crochet:
- 59% of people said that crochet helped to reduce symptoms of anxiety
- 56% of people said that crochet helped to reduce symptoms of depression
Additionally, 27% of people said that crochet helped them through processing grief. While grief is not a mental health condition, it can become depression over time if not processed. Therefore, any tool (including crafting) that assists us in moving through grief is beneficial to our mental health.
Crochet for Social Connection
The 2018 study looked more specifically at forming online connections through crochet. They report:
“At least half of the respondents (51%) found that communicating with others in online crochet groups strengthened their relationships with the other members and many (40%) had made new friends online.”
There are so many ways that mental health issues isolate us. Coming together online to discuss crafts is one way to help battle that feeling of isolation.
Let’s continue the conversation: What crafts do you do? Why do you do them? What’s the number one mental health benefit you get from them? Share in the comments!