Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
We are a group of social scientists based in the School of Social & Political Sciences (one of 4 schools within the College of Social Sciences) whose work is directly relevant to health and wellbeing. Our research group is located in the cross College Institute of Health and Wellbeing. Our disciplinary backgrounds include anthropology, sociology, history, epidemiology, public policy and psychology and we use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods to address research questions of contemporary relevance to health and wellbeing from a social science perspective.
Our overall aim is to better understand and improve health and well being through the application of social science theories and methodologies.
Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing have an established track record in a range of over-lapping research themes associated with health and wellbeing:
Our research explores the way in which social and public policies influence disabled peoples' day-to-day experiences and human rights over the life course. This includes a focus on disability as an identity category and its evolution through competing conceptual discourses.
Understanding and improving access to services
Work of members of the social scientists has a strong theme associated with understanding differential access to, and use of, services related to wellbeing (NHS, other public services and beyond). The work looks not only at how best to reach and engage those who have the potential to benefit from services but at how user perceptions of service access and use are influenced by wider social, organisational and structural factors.
Reducing risks and improving wellbeing
Lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet account for 25% of deaths from non-communicable disease in high income countries like the UK. They are also responsible for increasing risk of long term health conditions e.g. hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and reducing quality of life and wellbeing. National guidelines on weight management, healthy diet and physical activity levels are supported by a range of interventions to help people achieve healthier lifestyles and thereby improve their health risk and wellbeing. However, certain population groups tend to be resistant to embracing health messages and adopting health behaviours. Through developing an understanding of the social and psychological influences on positive health behaviours, as well as the environmental and policy contexts in which the behaviours occur, and working with specific target population sub-groups, we can begin to design interventions that will help to decrease current inequalities in health risk and wellbeing. The award-winning Football Fans in Training project (http://www.phr.nihr.ac.uk/funded_projects/09_3010_06.asp) is one example of the type of work undertaken in this area.
Development and evaluation of complex interventions
Social scientists have a very important role in designing and evaluating complex interventions to improve health and wellbeing. We bring theoretical insight and methodological rigour to programme development and relish in the multi-methods needed for their evaluation. We have developed a number of programmes: Football Fans in Training, (FFIT) to attract men aged 35-65, with a BMI over 28, to lose weight loss programmes offered by their SPL club; Living well with multimorbidity, to help people with multimorbidity living in deprived parts of Glasgow to live well by offering them more support through their general practice; Goal Setting and Action Planning in community rehabilitation, to help community rehabilitation professionals to structure the goal setting they do with patients and to ensure they are patient-centered. Project Manager, Dr. Cindy Gray Goal Setting in Palliative Care, to help palliative care professionals to support people at the end of life to do things that are important to them. Goal setting in allergic rhinitis, to help community pharmacists support people with allergic rhinitis to experience fewer symptoms through simple goal setting. Actwell, to help breast screening clinics support women to become more active and eat well to reduce risk of breast cancer.
Self-care and self-management
Historical perspectives on gender, inequalities and technologies
We support a significant number of PhD students funded through a variety of sources including the ESRC, Scottish Government, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the Lord Kelvin/Adam Smith Foundation.
The disciplinary backgrounds of our current students are broad and reflect the wide range of interests of our staff. They study topics from domestic abuse and asylum policy to historical narratives of eating disorders and from the potential of the capability approach to enhance understanding of lived experiences of mental distress to the experience of HIV affected women in Pakistan.
We welcome contact from prospective students in any of our areas of interest.
Email your enquiries to: Sally.Wyke@glasgow.ac.uk