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Examining associations between health, wellbeing and social capital: findings from a survey developed and conducted using participatory action research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shelina Visram, Sarah Smith, Natalie Connor



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing Limited, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Purpose: This study employed innovative methods to examine the associations between personal wellbeing, self-rated health and various aspects of social capital within a socio-economically disadvantaged town in northern England. Design: A survey was developed and administered with input from local stakeholders (including residents), using a participatory action research (PAR) approach. Eleven lay interviewers were trained to pilot and deliver the final survey, which was completed either in person or online. 233 valid surveys were returned. Findings: Respondents were aged between 17 and 87 years (mean 47.3, SD 17.4), 65.7% were female and 46.2% identified themselves as having a longstanding illness, disability or infirmity. Overall, respondents reported lower levels of personal wellbeing and social capital in comparison with UK averages, although free-text responses highlighted a strong sense of community spirit and pride in the town. Low wellbeing was strongly associated with poor health, social isolation and neighbourhood factors such as perceived lack of community safety and trust. Research implications: PAR appears to be an acceptable approach in generating estimates of population characteristics associated with personal wellbeing. Practical implications: The findings of this study may be used by policymakers to design services and interventions to better meet the needs of communities characterised by indicators of poor health and wellbeing.Originality: This work constitutes part of a global trend to measure personal and societal wellbeing. A novel methodology has been used to examine the factors that influence wellbeing at a neighbourhood level.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Visram S, Smith S, Connor N, Greig G, Scorer C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Mental Health

Year: 2018

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Pages: 122-134

Online publication date: 17/09/2018

Acceptance date: 13/06/2018

Date deposited: 02/07/2018

ISSN (print): 1746-5729

ISSN (electronic): 2042-8731

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/JPMH-09-2017-0035


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