From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

GoWell: the Impacts of Housing and Neighbourhood Change

The GoWell study transferred from the Evaluating the Health Effects of Social Interventions team to the Neighbourhoods and Health team in 2014.

GoWell is a ten year research and learning programme that aims to investigate the impact of investment in housing, regeneration and neighbourhood renewal in Glasgow on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. It was first established in 2005 and is funded by Glasgow Housing Association, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Communities Scotland, NHS Health Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and the University of Glasgow.

The programme involves the study of four outcomes (residential outcomes encompassing housing and neighbourhoods; social and community outcomes; empowerment; and health and wellbeing) following a range of interventions (housing improvements; transformational regeneration; resident relocation; the creation of mixed tenure communities; changes in housing type (demolition of high-rise blocks and replacement with lower-rise flats and houses)) and community engagement and empowerment initiatives.

The programme aims to establish the nature and extent of these impacts, to learn about the relative effectiveness of different approaches, and to inform policy and practice in Scotland and beyond.

To date the GoWell programme has involved three repeat cross-sectional surveys (2006, 2008 and 2011) sampling approximately 6,000 residents in neighbourhoods across Glasgow; and in 2015 the fourth wave of the study will be implemented. GoWell also involves a longitudinal study of residents who relocate; qualitative research studies; routine data analysis and neighbourhood audits. Information detailing each of the completed Gowell studies is available here, or alternatively you can visit GoWell for more information.

Ongoing GoWell studies

GoWell: studying change in Glasgow’s East End – Survey
The GoWell: studying change in Glasgow’s East End programme aims to survey residents in six areas of the East End of Glasgow over a period of six years. The first survey wave was carried out in 2012 and will involve two further resident surveys in 2014 (wave 2) and 2016 (wave 3). The survey includes questions relating to the participants home; community; services and amenities use in their area; their lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise, employment, income and education); and the physical and emotional health of the participant and their family. It should be noted that this study is in many ways similar to the main GoWell study, although it has a stronger focus on the Commonwealth Games Legacy in the East End of Glasgow, participation in sport and physical activities and the use of sports facilities. The 2014 survey will be co-ordinated and managed by the researchers and survey office at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.

GoWell: studying change in Glasgow’s East End – Qualitative Semi-structured Interview Study
In addition to the GoWell: studying change in Glasgow’s East End survey, a semi-structured interview study has also been carried out in the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow in order to explore the residents experiences of the area regeneration that was carried out in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, 2014.

GoWell Schools
A third sub study of the GoWell programme has been initiated and is currently ongoing, GoSchools. This research study has been designed to investigate levels of participation in physical activity before and after the Commonwealth Games in six secondary schools in Glasgow. The aim of the study is to determine if improvements that have been made to facilities, associated sports programmes and the high profile of the Games have increased the proportion of young people who perform physical activity or take part in sport.

The research team within the unit will survey the same group of young people annually, throughout their secondary school career. Each year, a smaller group of pupils will also wear objective physical activity measurement devices (accelerometers and GPS); that will help the neighbourhoods and health team learn more about the importance of the environment (including access to green space and sports venues) in relation to youth physical activity. The GoSchools study will also enable the research team to determine how levels and patterns of physical activity change as the student’s progress through their secondary school careers.

Good for Health? The Economic Crisis, Austerity Measures and Welfare Reform in Deprived Areas of Glasgow
This study builds on the results of the 2006, 2008 and 2011 GoWell surveys, which found that people who experience heightened financial difficulties are substantially more likely to incur mental health problems and visit their GPs as a consequence (click here for the full report). Dr Filippo Trevisan joined the SPHSU’s Neighbourhoods and Health Team in February 2014 to carry out in-depth qualitative interviews with households in deprived areas of Glasgow that had signalled an increase in financial difficulties between 2008 and 2011. Twenty-five household interviews were completed in spring 2014 and the project is now in its write-up phase. Preliminary results were discussed in September 2014 at a seminar with over sixty practitioners from local government, housing association, the NHS and poverty advocacy groups. This project took a broad approach to financial difficulties, discussing with participants the consequences of the global economic crisis and their expectations with regard to the on-going implementation of the UK welfare reform. Equally, health and wellbeing were also framed in broader terms than in existing work on financial difficulties and health, which has focused primarily on mental health issues. The interviews carried out for this study evidenced how the responses adopted by households in deprived areas to cope with increased financial difficulties are likely to be even more detrimental for both mental and physical health than was envisaged originally. Planned outputs for the next few months include a key findings report, a briefing paper for practitioners and two journal articles.

External Collaborators


  • Longitudinal Studies A type of study which involves studying a group of people at regular intervals over a long period of times
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