Enhancing Student Wellbeing Through Social Prescribing: A Rapid Realist Review

Mark Davies*, Megan Elliott, Sarah Wallace, Carolyn Wallace

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: A Rapid Realist Review of social prescribing in Higher Education (HE) was undertaken to determine what works, for whom, how, why, and within what circumstances. The review resulted in the development of a Realist Programme Theory articulating the way in which social prescribing can be implemented within the HE environment.

Methods: Searches of 12 electronic databases were supplemented by citation chaining and grey literature surfaced by the Project Advisory Group. The RAMESES Quality Standards for Realist Review were followed, and the retrieved articles were systematically screened and iteratively analysed to develop Context-Mechanism-Outcome Configurations (CMOCs) and an overarching Realist Programme Theory.

Results: A total of 57 documents were included. The overarching programme theory was developed from the analysis of these documents and comprised of a social prescribing pathway with the following components: (1) An Accessible Gateway, (2) A Skilled Peer, (3) Trusted-Safe-Credible Resources, and (4) A Healthy Setting.

Conclusion: A Realist Programme Theory was developed—this model and associated principles will provide a theoretical basis for the implementation of social prescribing pathways within higher education. Whilst the direct project outputs are of particular significance to the UK HE audience, the underpinning principles can support practice within the global arena.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 1605189
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023


  • social prescribing
  • Realist Review
  • Higher Education
  • Student support
  • wellbeing


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing Student Wellbeing Through Social Prescribing: A Rapid Realist Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this