Location, location, location: the role of experience of disadvantage in lay perceptions of area inequalities in health

Health Place. 2008 Jun;14(2):167-81. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2007.05.008. Epub 2007 Jun 7.


This paper examines how people see and express their experience of inequalities through place and how they understand the impact of place on health. Drawing on focus group discussions with participants from varying socio-economic backgrounds, we show, in contrast to a nascent received wisdom, how people from more deprived areas more readily discuss the adverse effects on health and well-being of structural and contextual features, whereas those with least experience of deprivation or hardship were more likely to draw on behavioural explanations of area inequalities. People living in more deprived areas also more readily accept statistics on area inequalities in health than those based in more affluent areas. We discuss these findings in the light of people's constructions of differences and distance between contiguous areas. We conclude by discussing some methodological and contextual features of our study which may explain why our findings both support and challenge those from earlier studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty Areas*
  • United Kingdom