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Factors which nurture geographical resilience in Britain: a mixed methods study
  1. Richard Mitchell1,
  2. Julia Gibbs2,
  3. Helena Tunstall3,
  4. Stephen D Platt4,
  5. Daniel Dorling5
  1. 1 University of Glasgow, United Kingdom;
  2. 2 Blake Stevenson Ltd, United Kingdom;
  3. 3 University of York, United Kingdom;
  4. 4 University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom;
  5. 5 University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  1. E-mail: r.mitchell{at}clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives: To identify plausible mechanisms by which resilience (low mortality rates despite persistent economic adversity) was achieved in some areas in Britain between 1971 and 2001

Methods: Mixed method observational study, combining quantitative analyses of cause and age group specific mortality rates, and area socio-demographic and environmental characteristics, with case studies of resilient areas which included in-depth interviews.

Results: The causes of death, and age groups, contributing most to resilience varied markedly between the 18 resilient areas; since disease aetiology varies, a range of protective processes must be in operation. Four area characteristics, which plausibly contributed to resilience, emerged from the in-depth interviews: population composition; retaining or attracting population; environment and housing; and social cohesion. Quantitative analyses demonstrated significant difference between resilient and non-resilient areas in retaining or attracting population only.

Conclusions: Whilst we identified plausible area characteristics through which resilience was achieved, there does not appear to be a definitive set which reliably produces resilience, and resilient and non-resilient areas did not differ significantly in their possession of most of these characteristics. If such characteristics do have a role in creating resilience, but are present both in resilient and non-resilient areas, further work is needed to explore what makes them 'successful' in some areas, but not in others.

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