Journal: Health & place
After adjusting for covariates, self-reported general health in England is higher among populations living closer to the coast, and the association is strongest amongst more deprived groups. We explored whether similar findings were present for mental health using cross-sectional data for urban adults in the Health Survey for England (2008-2012, N ≥25,963). For urban adults, living ≤1 km from the coast, in comparison to >50 km, was associated with better mental health as measured by the GHQ12. Stratification by household income revealed this was only amongst the lowest-earning households, and extended to ≤5 km. Our findings support the contention that, for urban adults, coastal settings may help to reduce health inequalities in England.
This article explores how people negotiate borders and boundaries within the home, in the context of health and the introduction of new technologies. We draw on an ethnographic study involving a socially diverse group of people, which included people with experience of telecare or smart home energy systems. Participants engaged in various strategies to regulate the borders of their home, even though new technologies have begun to change the nature of these borders. Participants managed health conditions but also their use of technology through boundary work that permitted devices to be more or less visible and integrated within the home. Findings highlight that if smart healthcare technologies are to be accepted in the home then there is a need for mechanisms that allow people to control the interpretation of data and flow of information generated about them and their households.
This study utilised an innovative application of spatial cluster analysis to examine the socio-spatial patterning of outlets selling potentially health-damaging goods/services, such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco and gambling, within Glasgow City, Scotland. For all categories of outlets combined, numbers of clusters increased linearly from the least to the most income deprived areas (i.e. one cluster within the least deprived quintile to ten within the most deprived quintile). Co-location of individual types of outlets (alcohol, fast food, tobacco and gambling) within similar geographical areas was also evident. This type of research could influence interventions to tackle the co-occurrence of unhealthy behaviours and contribute to policies tackling higher numbers of ‘environmental bads’ within deprived areas.
We conducted the first synthesis of theories on causal associations and pathways connecting degree of control in the living environment to socio-economic inequalities in health-related outcomes. We identified the main theories about how differences in ‘control over destiny’ could lead to socio-economic inequalities in health, and conceptualised these at three distinct explanatory levels: micro/personal; meso/community; and macro/societal. These levels are interrelated but have rarely been considered together in the disparate literatures in which they are located. This synthesis of theories provides new conceptual frameworks to contribute to the design and conduct of theory-led evaluations of actions to tackle inequalities in health.
Exercise, spending time in nature and feeling part of a supportive community all contribute to better physical and mental health and to healthy ageing. This focused ethnography investigates how participation in self-organised ocean swimming groups contributes to healthy ageing amongst older men and women in the Australian coastal city of Perth. It explores the ways marine life, personal experiences and social connectedness mediate their group use of public blue space, and highlights that group membership promotes participants' enhanced health and wellbeing, and supports development of self-efficacy and resilience. These findings suggest that more inclusive access to ocean swimming and other forms of active or adventure-based leisure activities should be advocated from a public health perspective.
As urbanisation escalates globally, urban neighbourhood features which may improve physical and mental health are of growing importance. Using a cross-sectional survey of adults and the application of novel geospatial techniques, this study investigated whether increased visibility of nature (green and blue space) was associated with lower psychological distress (K10 scores), in the capital city of Wellington, New Zealand. To validate, we also tested whether visibility of blue space was associated missing teeth in the same sample. Cluster robust, linear regression models were fitted to test the association between visibility of nature and K10 scores, adjusted for age, sex, personal income, neighbourhood population density, housing quality, crime and deprivation. Higher levels of blue space visibility were associated with lower psychological distress (β=-0.28, p<0.001). Importantly, blue space visibility was not significantly associated with tooth loss. Further research is needed to confirm whether increased visibility of blue space could promote mental well-being and reduce distress in other cities.
To assess relationships between area level deprivation and drinking patterns among adolescents.
Given the current insatiable demand for coal to build and fuel the world’s burgeoning cities the debate about mining-related social, environmental and health injustices remains eminently salient. Furthermore, the core issues appear universally consistent. This paper combines the theoretical base for defining these injustices with reports in the international health literature about the impact of coal mining on local communities. It explores and analyses mechanisms of coal mining related injustice, conflicting priorities and power asymmetries between political and industry interests versus inhabitants of mining communities, and asks what would be required for considerations of health to take precedence over wealth.
Associations between different alcohol outcomes and outlet density measures vary between studies and may not be generalisable to adolescents. In a cross-sectional study of 979 15-year old Glaswegians, we investigated the association between alcohol outlet availability (outlet density and proximity), outlet type (on-premise vs. off-premise) and frequent (weekly) alcohol consumption. We adjusted for social background (gender, social class, family structure). Proximity and density of on-premise outlets were not associated with weekly drinking. However, adolescents living close (within 200m) to an off-sales outlet were more likely to drink frequently (OR 1.97, p=0.004), as were adolescents living in areas with many nearby off-premises outlets (OR 1.60, p=0.016). Our findings suggest that certain alcohol behaviours (e.g. binge drinking) may be linked to the characteristics of alcohol outlets in the vicinity.
In the United Kingdom hospice day care services are the fastest growing yet least researched of the palliative care services. Using photo-elicitation interviews with 11 day care patients attending a specialist hospice day care setting we explored their experiences of the hospice as a place and how these changed over time. Informed by concepts from existential and humanistic geography we propose three existential modes of being - Drifting, Sheltering and Venturing - which characterize the patients' lived experiences of the hospice. Our phenomenological analysis shows that the hospice is (re)constructed purposefully to achieve a sense of ‘home’ and ‘homelikeness’, creating an important therapeutic landscape for patients.