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.
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
Media coverage and news
Mark McCann (Networks Workstream lead)
Kirstin Mitchell (programme lead; Intimate and Family Relationships)
Kathryn Skivington (Communities Workstream lead)