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Durham e-Theses
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Places, People and Health: A socio-geographical perspective on wellbeing of mothers and their children in deprived neighbourhoods of Malta

SATARIANO, BERNADINE (2016) Places, People and Health: A socio-geographical perspective on wellbeing of mothers and their children in deprived neighbourhoods of Malta. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study explores socio-geographical processes influencing health and wellbeing in deprived Maltese neighbourhoods, contributing new knowledge on how these compare with those reported in research on Anglo-American cultures.
This qualitative research obtained data from three deprived neighbourhoods in Malta through in-depth interviews with 31 mothers (of diverse marital status) and their children. Some of these families were followed across a period of time thus obtaining longitudinal data. The research employed a grounded theory approach, and constant comparative approach was used to explore how social processes differed across neighbourhoods.
Familial and neighbourhood ties, networks and other aspects of social capital emerge as highly significant, and often beneficial for health and wellbeing. However, divisive processes in these social networks also had negative impacts, less often reported in other research. This thesis emphasises that there is a strong connection between material neighbourhood factors and social relations, as the physical built environment, housing conditions, service provision, welfare benefits, and employment opportunities influence social processes and impact on health and wellbeing in diverse ways.
The history of the place, as well as individual life histories, together with a cross-generational and longitudinal approach the significance of the ‘time’ dimension, thus contributing to the complexities of health and wellbeing in neighbourhoods.
This study adds to literature on social determinants of health operating in a Maltese, Mediterranean context. It emphasises that there are traditional norms that still determine the health and wellbeing of inhabitants in their neighbourhoods, however, social and economic changes are also transforming these neighbourhoods. It further reveals how individual agency interacts with the social and material environment to affect wellbeing outcomes, albeit within limits on individuals’ power and resources. The findings therefore highlight the importance of a relational approach in order to understand the connection between people, place and health.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Social capital; Health and wellbeing; deprived neighbourhoods; qualitative; Malta
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Nov 2016 14:33

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