2003 volume 35(8) pages 1459 – 1475

Cite as:
Stafford M, Bartley M, Sacker A, Marmot M, Wilkinson R, Boreham R, Thomas R, 2003, "Measuring the social environment: social cohesion and material deprivation in English and Scottish neighbourhoods" Environment and Planning A 35(8) 1459 – 1475

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Measuring the social environment: social cohesion and material deprivation in English and Scottish neighbourhoods

Mai Stafford, Mel Bartley, Amanda Sacker, Michael Marmot, Richard Wilkinson, Richard Boreham, Roger Thomas

Received 28 September 2002; in revised form 8 February 2003

Abstract. Despite increasing interest in macrosocial determinants of health, progress has been hampered by a lack of information on contextual factors and a lack of clarity in defining aspects of the social environment which may be important. A theoretical and empirical approach to measuring social cohesion in neighbourhoods in England and Scotland is described. Some forms of social networks, such as contact with friends and participation in organised groups, promoted trust, attachment to neighbourhood, and tolerance or respect for others. Notably, neighbourhoods in which family ties were predominant tended to be less tolerant. The cognitive aspects of social cohesion (trust, attachment, practical help, and tolerance or respect) tended to be lower in more materially deprived areas. Both the material and social characteristics of places may contribute to spatial variations in health.

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