Our health and the environment we live in

The impact of deprivation on chronic stress markers and physical health.

In this episode of the Understanding Society Podcast we are looking at the relationship between chronic stress markers, health, and deprived areas. Lucy Prior (University of Bristol) takes us through her research into this relationship between deprivation and negative health outcomes, and her use of Understanding Society data. 

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • The need for the paper.
  • How Lucy was using biomarkers to look at the mechanism that underlies the connection between deprivation and health through chronic stress. 
  • What the ‘stress pathway’ is, and how your environment contributes to this stress pathway and ultimately affects your health. 
  • The biological mechanism at work that links where you’re living and how that affects your health.
  • How Lucy linked geography with the data to look at levels of deprivation in different areas. 
  • What constitutes a ‘deprived’ area?
  • The findings of the paper, and how physical health versus mental health are affected.
  • Were there any surprises in the study?
  • What would Lucy do differently if she were to tackle the study again? And her advice for anyone using the Understanding Society Study data in their research. 

Lucy Prior is a Research Associate in Quantitative Methods in Education, currently working on an ESRC Standard grant on new school league table research and methods for measuring school performance. She is also interested in health geography, particularly in investigating relationships of neighbourhood deprivation with overall health and wellbeing, and the exploration of health pathways related to stress exposure. Her research draws on life-course and biosocial theories and employs quantitative techniques, such as multilevel modelling, to expose health and place relationships.