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.

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Staff Member Biography

Laura Macdonald

Laura Macdonaldposition: Research Assistant

Contact Details

phone: 0141 353 7500


MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit,
University of Glasgow,
Top floor,
200, Renfield Street
G2 3QB

Biography and Interests

Laura Macdonald graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1999 with an M.A. (Hons) in Sociology, and went on to do a postgraduate course in IT at Paisley University.  She began working for the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in February 2001 as a Research Assistant within the Social and Spatial Patterning team, now known as Neighbourhoods and Communities, investigating the processes by which features of the local social and physical environment might influence health and the ability to lead a healthy life.

Laura has been involved in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) to map features of the local environment within Glasgow and surrounding areas, and her current research interests include:- studying potential differences in built environment features supporting active travel between more and less deprived areas, associations between  proximity to certain types of amenity and health behaviours (e.g. alcohol outlet access and alcohol consumption), and the spatial patterning of potentially health damaging amenities such as premises providing fast food, tobacco, alcohol, or betting services.

She is involved in work relating to a number of projects, including 'Walkability around Scottish Primary Schools' (WASPS), 'Transport, Housing and Well-being in West Central Scotland' (2010) (THAW), GoWell East's 'Athlete's Village Study', and 'Studying Physical Activity in Children’s Environments across Scotland' (SPACES).

Laura is in her final year of a distance learning part-time MSc in GIS run jointly by the University of Leeds and the University of Southampton.



Ellaway A, Macdonald L, Kearns A. Are housing tenure and car access still associated with health? A repeat cross-sectional study of UK adults over a 13 year period. BMJ Open 2016;6:e012268

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Macdonald L, McCrorie P, Nicholls N, Ellaway A. Walkability around primary schools and area deprivation across Scotland. BMC Public Health 2016;16:328

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Ellaway A, MacDonald S, Macdonald L, Nicholls N. Context briefing 3: changes over time in the provision of amenities and facilities. Glasgow, 2014

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Macdonald L, Kearns A, Ellaway A. Do residents' perceptions of being well-placed and objective presence of local amenities match? A case study in West Central Scotland, UK. BMC Public Health 2013;13:454

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Young R, Macdonald L, Ellaway A. Associations between proximity and density of local alcohol outlets and alcohol use among Scottish adolescents. Health & Place 2013;19:124-130

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Ellaway A, Macdonald L, Lamb K, Thornton L, Day P, Pearce J. Do obesity-promoting food environments cluster around socially disadvantaged schools in Glasgow, Scotland?. Health & Place 2012;18:1335-40

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Thornton LE, Pearce JR, Macdonald L, Lamb KE, Ellaway A. Does the choice of neighbourhood supermarket access measure influence associations with individual-level fruit and vegetable consumption? A case study from Glasgow. International Journal of Health Geographics 2012;11:29

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Macdonald L, Ellaway A, Ball K, Macintyre S. Is proximity to a food retail store associated with diet and BMI in Glasgow, Scotland?. BMC Public Health 2011;11:464

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Ellaway A, Macdonald L, Forsyth A, Macintyre S. The socio-spatial distribution of alcohol outlets in Glasgow City. Health & Place 2010;16:167-72

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Wilson K, Eyles J, Ellaway A, Macintyre S, Macdonald L. Health status and health behaviours in neighbourhoods: a comparison of Glasgow, Scotland and Hamilton, Canada. Health & Place 2010;16:331-8

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Macdonald L, Ellaway A, Macintyre S. The food retail environment and area deprivation in Glasgow City. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009;6:52

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Macdonald L, Ellaway A. The socio-spatial distribution of alcohol outlets in Glasgow City using a range of geographic scales. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Working Paper no. 19, Glasgow, 2008

Macintyre S, MacDonald L, Ellaway A. Do poorer people have poorer access to local resources and facilities? The distribution of local resources by area deprivation in Glasgow, Scotland. Social Science & Medicine 2008;67:900-14

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Macintyre S, Macdonald L, Ellaway A. Lack of agreement between measured and self-reported distance from public green parks in Glasgow, Scotland. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2008;5:26

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Benzeval M, Green M, Ferrell C, Macdonald L, Wilson R, Der G, Ellaway A, Hunt K, Sweeting H, West P, Macintyre S. The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: health in the community - wave 5 fieldwork protocol. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Working Paper no. 20, Glasgow, 2007

Macdonald L, Cummins S, Macintyre S. Neighbourhood fast food environment and area deprivation: substitution or concentration?. Appetite 2007;49:251-4

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Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Lay concepts of the relative importance of different influences on health: are there major socio-demographic variations?. Health Education Research 2006;21:731-9

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Cummins S C, McKay L, Macintyre S. McDonald's restaurants and neighborhood deprivation in Scotland and England. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;29:308-310

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Macintyre S, McKay L, Cummins S, Burns C. Out-of-home food outlets and area deprivation: case study in Glasgow, UK. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2005;2:16

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Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Are rich people or poor people more likely to be ill? Lay perceptions, by social class and neighbourhood, of inequalities in health. Social Science & Medicine 2005;60:313-317

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Macintyre S, McKay L, Ellaway A. Who is more likely to experience common disorders: men, women, or both equally? Lay perceptions in the West of Scotland. International Journal of Epidemiology 2005;34:461-466

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Ellaway A, McKay L, Macintyre S, Kearns A, Hiscock R. Are social comparisons of homes and cars related to psychosocial health?. International Journal of Epidemiology 2004;33:1065-1071

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Macintyre S, McKay L, Der G, Hiscock R. Socio-economic position and health: what you observe depends on how you measure it. Journal of Public Health Medicine 2004;25:288-294

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Ellaway A, Macintyre S, McKay L. The historical specificity of early life car ownership as an indicator of socioeconomic position. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2003;57:277-278

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Macintyre S, Ellaway A, Hiscock R, Kearns A, Der G, McKay L. What features of the home and the area might help to explain observed relationships between housing tenure and health? Evidence from the West of Scotland. Health & Place 2003;9:207-218

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McKay L, Macintyre S, Ellaway A. Migration and health: a review of the international literature. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional Paper no. 12, Glasgow, 2003