Article Text

other Versions

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}


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.

Statistics from


    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.