Young mothers’ negotiations of infant feeding. A qualitative study with ethnographic methods.

Funded by NIHR CLAHRC for South Yorkshire (Inequalities Theme)

What are the aims of this project?

This small study aims to enhance understanding of young mothers’ experiences of infant feeding. The objective is to examine why mothers under 20 have the lowest rate of breastfeeding in the UK. The study also aims to suggest changes to practice that may help support young mothers to breastfeed.

Why is this important?

Breastfeeding is known to have significant health benefits for mothers and babies and may help to ameliorate some health inequalities in deprived or marginalised groups such as young mothers.

How will the research be carried out?

Ten young mothers were followed on their journeys from pregnancy to weaning, by interviewing and observing them.

Timeframe:

The data collection took place from January 2013 to November 2013. Analysis and write up will be completed by January 2016.

Who is undertaking the research?

Phoebe Pallotti for her doctoral research. Supervisors: Sarah Salway, Liddy Goyder.

How are stakeholders being engaged?

Young mothers and Teen Link midwives were consulted at each stage of the research.

What will be the outputs from the study?

A PhD Thesis.

A presentation was given at the UCLAN Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit (MAINN) 2015 conference.


Welfare and wellbeing at older age

ageing well

Funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research as part of the Ageing Well Programme of research.

What were the aims of this project?

This project aimed to:

  • Look at the ways in which welfare benefits shape wellbeing at older age.
  • Assess the health impact of any potential changes to benefits for this age group.

How was the research carried out?

Interviews were conducted with 30 older people from three different areas of the UK, including people from a range of ethnic, socio-economic and older age groups. We asked people about their work and social histories, their current day-to-day activities and financial and social priorities as well as their views and experiences of welfare provision for older people.

Why is this important?

The continuation of universal welfare benefits for older people has been challenged at a national policy level. Calls for introducing further conditionality to benefits for older adults are often based on claims that this will increase fairness and equality but our findings indicate that introducing conditionality has the potential to promote inequality and foster differentiation and division among older people. Our findings drew attention to the material and psychosocial impact of welfare benefits, showing that universal benefits fostered self-worth and were seen as a reward for a lifetime of hard work and financial responsibility.  When talking about needs-tested benefits older people questioned the moral deservingness of recipients. People assessed deservingness according to class, age, ethnicity and nationality. Applying for conditional benefits meant dealing with the stigma that older people felt were attached to these benefits; some people described feeling shame and a sense that they were applying for something that was not theirs. These feelings caused anxiety and deterred some people from applying.

Timeframe:

The fieldwork was carried out between December 2013 and July 2014. The findings were published at the start of 2015.

Who undertook the research?

This was carried out by the following researchers at the national School for Public Health Research:  Judith Green (Project Lead),  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Stefanie Buckner,  Cambridge Institute of Public Health; Sarah Milton, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Suzanne Moffatt,  Fuse The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, Newcastle University; Sarah Salway, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield; Katie Powell, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield. Thanks are due to Roy Darlison, Sheffield 50+ and the Sheffield Palliative Care Studies Advisory Group for their advice and to Mubarak Ismail, Sadique Bhanbro, Lerleen Willis for their contribution to data generation.

How were stakeholders engaged?

  • We sought feedback on project aims and design through informal conversations with practitioners working to support older people in the field of welfare
  • We sought feedback on project aims, design and recruitment methods and emerging findings through more formal and structured face-to-face focus groups with older people: an engagement event was organised in Sheffield with lay people, commissioners, voluntary sector organisations and public health officers working with older people to discuss ways in which the findings might be used to inform practice.

What are the outputs from the study?

A lay summary was prepared and shared with stakeholders locally and nationally.

A paper has been published:

Milton A, Buckner S, Salway S, Powell K, Moffatt S, Green J. Understanding welfare conditionality in the context of a generational habitus: A qualitative study of older citizens in England. (2015) Journal of Ageing Studies, 34, 113-122

Presentations have been given at a number of regional and national conferences.


Inequitable access to services for older people

Funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research as part of the Ageing Well Programme of research.

What are the aims of this project?

The project investigates the extent to which older people receive inequitable access to effective and cost-effective health interventions, both clinical and public health. A range of conditions and health interventions which are effective in both younger and older people will be examined.

We will focus on the potential impact of interventions in older populations on inequalities in health outcomes. We will explore how such inequalities arise and seek to identify ways to intervene to prevent them.

Social inequalities in health among older populations seem to be widening and this work package will explore one potentially important cause with a view to identifying ways to reduce such inequalities.

Why is this important?

It is important because the health of older people will be adversely affected if they fail to receive health interventions which improve the quality and quantity of life. Moreover, age-discrimination is something which has been found fairly extensively in the past, but should not be occurring now, not least because recent age-equality legislation has been introduced.

How will the research be carried out?

A number of sub-studies are being undertaken. Currently, the research carried out in ScHARR includes two sub-studies:

  • A literature review of existing published evidence about inequality in access to health interventions in older people:
  • A study using existing data on utilisation of smoking cessation services in older people.

Timeframe:

From November 2013 until March 2017

Who is undertaking the research?

In Sheffield

Sarah Salway, Nick Payne, Melanie Rimmer, Hannah Jordan

How are stakeholders being engaged?

  1. Stakeholder consultation events; and
  2. Engagement with PPI representatives on the ScHARR SPHR Advisory Group.

What will be the outputs from the study?

  • Presentations at scientific conferences:
    Early findings were presented at the British Society for Gerontology Annual Conference in Newcastle, UK in July 2015.
  • Publications in Journals

Reports and presentations to lay audiences including stakeholders