RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017

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205 Vulnerable spaces
Chair(s) Claire Thompson (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)
Timetable Thursday 31 August 2017, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room RGS-IBG Lowther Room
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2017@rgs.org
Exploring common mental illness as a driver of internal migration in Great Britain
Sam Wilding (University of Southampton, UK)
David Martin (University of Southampton, UK)
Graham Moon (University of Southampton, UK)
Past research shows that individuals with a common mental illness are more likely to change residence than those without such illnesses, but the spatial aspect of these moves is rarely considered, and models used imply that migration is consistent across areas. We address these issues with data from the original British Household Panel Survey cohort and the 1999 booster sample, followed through releases of the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society (1991-2013). Longitudinal probit models predict the probability of moving between waves of the survey(s). We test whether individuals with a common mental illness (measured using the 12 item General Health Questionnaire) are more likely to move between survey waves than those without a common mental illness. We use a novel cross-classified approach, in which the structure of the BHPS/US allows us to control for individual and time differences in migration behaviour. Additional parameters are estimated for the effect of common mental illness in each local authority to test whether certain areas of Great Britain ‘push’ those with mental illness away, and if they are ‘pulled’ towards other areas. We find that common mental illness is associated with greater probability of moving between survey waves (coefficient = 0.17, CI 0.13 – 0.19), so the predicted probability of moving for the population with a CMI (11.3%) is higher than for population without a common mental illness (8.5%). In addition, those with a common mental illness are particularly more likely to move to local authorities where migration is otherwise relatively rare.
“We shouldn’t need to be here”: the perceived social goods and ills of foodbanks and food aid in London’s changing welfare landscape
Claire Thompson (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)
Dianna Smith (University of Southampton, UK)
Steven Cummins (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)
In London, one of the most unequal cities in the world, a complex network of charity, social enterprise and public sector agencies are constantly developing and deploying diverse responses to urban (food) poverty. This precarious new welfare landscape has attracted extensive scrutiny and controversy. In order to explore these changes, a qualitative study is being carried out in London. Alongside ethnographic research into the experiences of former foodbank staff and users, a series of in-depth interviews with health and social care professionals who work with and/or in food aid is underway. Twenty-five such individuals are being interviewed and re-interviewed over an 18-month period. This presentation reports on the initial findings and uses a critical grounded theory framing to depict the multifaceted accounts of London (food) poverty and food aid. Our analysis highlights the ongoing tension between, on the one hand, grave concerns over the retreating state and, on the other, a deep sense of positivity and faith in the organisations and actors that are filling the gap. Research into the role of the third sector organisations, and into foodbanks especially, need to consider both the material and social purposes they serves and the potential contradictions this poses.
How do they cope? The differential impact of the Economic Recession on the Mental Health of the UK
Gareth Griffith (University of Bristol, UK)
Kelvyn Jones (University of Bristol, UK)
We use the Understanding Society dataset to evaluate the effect of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on the mental health of the UK. Previous work using Exploratory Structural Equation Modelling has identified four distinctive dimensions -“Depressive Symptoms”, “Social Dysfunction”, “Coping Mechanisms” and “Lowered Self-Worth” using General Health Questionnaire data from 2009. We examine individual trajectories for these constructs over the following 5 years. We do so using the largest repeated sample of this questionnaire in the UK to date, comprising over 40,000 individuals. We aim to identify the nature of the response to the GFC, in terms of average health status and in terms of heterogeneity both within- and between-individuals. We further investigate the nature of the response for different types of individuals in different types of places for each of the four dimensions. This is operationalised via the specification of complex multilevel models, allowing us to distinguish both locational and functional geographical effects on the differing dimensions of mental health. We identify which types of people and which types of places have been most affected by the GFC with respect to each of these four dimensions. The analysis reveals the differential susceptibility of individuals, separating out within-person fluctuations from overall change. Crucially the model (with the inclusion of an allowed-to-vary parameter with respect to age) allows us to identify at which stage in the lifecourse individuals are most vulnerable, and where and for whom geography matters most.
"Energy Research in Social Housing: Methodological Considerations
Graeme Sherriff (University of Salford, UK)
"There are many reasons for researchers of energy efficiency to be interested in social housing. The sector has often been a forerunner in the development of approaches to retrofit and new energy technologies, offering economies of scale, consistent maintenance regimes, and skills in working with tenants and residents. It is an organisational setting in which lessons can be learned and applied, within its own remit as well as in the wider building sector. It houses vulnerable people who stand to benefit greatly from opportunities to cut energy costs, whilst factors such as mental health, dementia, sight loss and learning difficulties mean they often need extra support to get the best out of new energy technologies.

This paper draws on a set of studies in Greater Manchester that have involved qualitative research with social housing tenants, some of which provide evidence of problematic installations. It identifies particular challenges in conducting ethical, appropriate and effective research with tenants, and considers the implications of these. It considers the extent to which these considerations are particular to social housing or can to some extent be generalised to the private rented sector, or other vulnerable residents"
Health risk and resilience in Nigeria: a postcolonial perspective
Mildred Oiza Ajebon (Durham University, UK)
Decades of public health research and policy practice have emphasised the debilitating effects of socioeconomic deprivation on the health of poor communities. Such perspectives have privileged deficit models which focus on risk and vulnerability rather than strength. Using a mixed method approach and postcolonial theory, this study argues that such stereotypes may provide incomplete knowledges for child health improvement. It calls for a more holistic approach which goes beyond risk and vulnerability to account for the role of health assets available to women of reproductive age in deprived rural communities. This study engages with concepts of risk and resilience, not as polar opposites, but complimentary approaches that could provide more robust geographical accounts of population health for better public health policy in the global south. Evidence from quantitative analysis of data from Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) 2003, 2008 and 2013, namely linear regression and regression tree classification models, indicate that some poor areas could exhibit better child health than expected given the level of deprivation. These areas have been labelled ‘resilient’. Factors such as secondary or higher educational attainment, ethnicity, religion and antenatal care attendance are shown to be associated with lower under five mortality rates. The study then employs qualitative interviewing to further explore local perception of risk and resilience and contextual factors that may be defying the health damaging effects of deprivation in selected resilient communities in Southern Nigeria.