About the Programme

Why Relationships and Health?

Social relationships exert strong influence on health and wellbeing. Social connection and support is fundamental to good health; while isolation and harmful relationships are strong risk factors. Context matters; human relationships are played out within broad and complex social systems which influence health.

About our research 

We explore human relationships in context to tackle key population health issues.  We focus on inherently relational health topics (like loneliness), and public health priorities that are strongly influenced by relationships (like mental health and healthy ageing). Our research also focuses on relational mechanisms of change, recognising that human relationships are crucial to the effectiveness of complex interventions. We use relational theories – such as social network theory – to understand problems and test solutions to key public health challenges.

About our team

Our team comprises researchers from a wide range of backgrounds: psychology, sociology, human sciences, political science. Our programme has three overlapping workstreams: Intimate partners and families; peer networks; and communities. We work with partners such as Rape Crisis, the Scottish Prison Service, NHS health boards and Public Health Scotland to frame research questions, and together design and evaluate interventions.   

Wooden blocks in the shape of people are connected by a blue line with lights.

Relationships and Health


Equally Safe at School – a whole school approach to preventing gender-based violence 

PACES – Social connectivity and physical activity in later life

CONUNDRUM – co-producing national sexual health policy with young people  

National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles 

The Scottish Drug-Related Deaths Study

Net4Health: Social networks and adolescent health

WAYS (Wellbeing Among Youth in Scotland)


Equally safe at school

Navigating new relationships in mid-life

How do people count their lifetime partners

Impact on parental imprisonment on children



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