Geographies of Health and Well-being
There has been a long tradition of research focused on health and well-being in the Geography Department. Dr Liz Twigg, Dr Humphrey Southall, Dr Julia Brown, Dr Kate Jones and Dr Jo Horwood form the core of the Portsmouth Health Group. Collaboration with individuals from other institutions and organisations is an important feature of the group's research and consultancy work.
Applied and exploratory research activities span a range of health agendas but the distinctive focus is positioned on the difference that place and space make to health, health care and health policy. The health group's two clear aims are to undertake and disseminate research into the above themes and to provide undergraduate and postgraduate supervision in the geography of health and health care.
The group has a current research agenda focused on six areas:
- The spatial analysis of large and complex health-related data sets - This research involves innovative work using multilevel models with routine data sets. The objective of this programme of work is the quantitative understanding of the interplay of individual and area effects on health outcome and health-related behaviour over time and geographical space.
- Multilevel synthetic estimation of health-related outcomes - Building on from the above multilevel work, innovative techniques have been developed to use national and regional survey data within a predictive framework that allows estimation at the small area level. The group continue to apply and evaluate this technique for a number of health-related outcomes and measures of community disorder.
- Social marketing, smoking cessation and smoking prevalence complexity. The theory behind social marketing is used to help target specific smoking cessation interventions at particular 'hard to reach groups' such as long-term smokers, young cannabis smokers and people who indicate no desire to quit. Multilevel models of national survey data are used to capture the individual and place characteristics of such groups. Research is also being undertaken to look at urban/rural disparities in smoking prevalence.
- Water resource management in South Africa. This project concerns the efficacy of pioneering styles of devolutionary and participatory water management processes in the former homelands of South Africa. The work explores assumptions behind the participatory paradigm of the ‘global north’ with that of the ‘global south’ and findings indicate that in contexts where there are power differentials between groups, participatory approaches can actually reinforce inequitable outcomes.
- Post-asylum geographies - Here, research focuses on the phenomena surrounding 'NIMBYism' and the location of community mental health facilities. The work also considers public perception of risk and dangerousness.
- The Geography of community well-being. This work initially focused on the links between community social capital and individual health outcomes. Work then broadened to look at the impact of social diversity on individual perceptions of quality of life, levels of neighbourhood trust, neighbourhood cohesion and antisocial behaviour. More recently attention has shifted towards the challenges of monitoring and evaluating the possible impact of ‘Big Society’ on community welfare.
Ms Joanna Taylor
Mr Richard Tyler