Assessing the psychosocial elements of crowds at mass gatherings

Alison Hutton, Kathryn Zeitz, Stephen Brown, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: The environmental aspects of mass gatherings that can affect the health and safety of the crowd have been well described. Although it has been recognized that the nature of the crowd will directly impact the health and safety of the crowd, the majority of research focuses on crowd behavior in a negative context such as violence or conflict. Within the mass gathering literature, there is no agreement on what crowd behavior, crowd mood and crowd type actually mean. At the same time, these elements have a number of applications, including event management and mass gathering medicine. These questions are worthy of exploration. Methods: This paper will report on a pilot project undertaken to evaluate how effective current crowd assessment tools are in understanding the psychosocial domain of a mass gathering event. Results: The pilot project highlighted the need for a more consistent descriptive data set that focuses on crowd behavior. Conclusions: The descriptive data collected in this study provide a beginning insight into the science of understanding crowds at a mass gathering event. This pilot has commenced a process of quantifying the psychosocial nature of an event. To maximize the value of this work, future research is required to understand the interplay among the three domains of mass gatherings (physical, environmental and psychological), along with the effects of each element within the domains on safety and health outcomes for participants at mass gatherings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-421
    Number of pages8
    JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • crowds
    • mass gathering
    • psychosocial


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