• Being at the Bottom Rung of the Ladder in an Unequal Society: A Qualitative Analysis of Stories of People without a Home

      Mabhala, Mzwandile; Yohannes, Asmait; University of Chester; Asmait Skin Care
      Background: Homelessness is rising in the United Kingdom, despite investment in measures to eradicate it made by the government and charity organisations. Aim: The aim is to examine the stories of homeless people in order to document their perceptions of their social status, the reasons that led to their homelessness, and propose a conceptual explanation. Method: We conducted 26 semi-structured interviews in three centres for homeless people in Cheshire, North West of England. Results: Three categories—education, employment, and health—emerged from the data and provided a theoretical explanation for the reasons that led to their homelessness. These are vital not only for the successful negotiation of one’s way out of homelessness, but also for achieving other social goods, including social connections, social mobility, and engaging in positive social relationships. Conclusion: Participants catalogued the adverse childhood experiences, which they believe limited their capacity to meaningfully engage with the social institution for social goods, such as education, social services, and institutions of employment. Since not all people who have misfortunes of poor education, poor health, and loss of job end up being homeless, we contend that a combination of these with multiple adverse childhood experiences may have weakened their resilience to traumatic life changes, such as loss of job and poor health.
    • Does the Association between Depressive Symptomatology and Physical Activity Depend on Body Image Perception? A Survey of Students from Seven Universities in the UK

      El Ansari, Walid; Stockton, Christine; Phillips, Ceri; Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Stoate, Mary; Adetunji, Hamed; Deeny, Pat; John, Jill; Davies, Shân; Parke, Sian; et al. (MDPI, 2011-01-25)
      This cross-sectional study assessed the association between depression and PA in university students of both genders and the role of body image perception as a potential effect modifier. Undergraduate students (N = 3706) from seven universities in the UK completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed sociodemographic information; a range of health, health behaviour and health awareness related factors; the modified version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (M-BDI); educational achievement, and different levels of physical activity (PA), such as moderate PA (at least 5 days per week moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes), and vigorous PA (at least 3 days per week vigorous exercise of at least 20 minutes). Only 12.4% of the sample achieved the international recommended level for moderate PA, and 33.1% achieved the recommendations for vigorous PA. Both moderate and vigorous PA were inversely related to the M-BDI score. Physically active students, regardless of the type of PA, were significantly more likely to perceive their health as good, to have higher health awareness, to perform strengthening exercises, and to be males. The stratified analyses indicated that the association between depression and PA differed by body image. In students perceiving their body image as ‘just right’, moderate (>4th percentile) and high (>5th percentile) M-BDI scores were inversely related to vigorous PA. However, in students who perceived their body image as ‘overweight’, the inverse association was only significant in those with high M-BDI scores. We conclude that the positive effect of PA on depression could be down modulated by the negative impact of a ‘distorted’ body image on depression. The practical implications of these findings are that PA programmes targeting persons with depressive symptoms should include effective components to enhance body image perception.
    • Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK

      El Ansari, Walid; Stock, Christiane; Snelgrove, Sherrill; Hu, Xiaoling; Parke, Sian; Davies, Shân; John, Jill; Adetunji, Hamed; Stoate, Mary; Deeny, Pat; et al. (MDPI, 2011-04-27)
      Abstract: University students’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing are important and comprise many variables. This study assessed perceived health status in addition to a range of physical and psychological wellbeing indicators of 3,706 undergraduate students from seven universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We compared differences in these variables between males and females, and across the participating universities. The data was collected in 2007–2008. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information (e.g., gender, age), self-reported physical and psychological health data, as well as questions on health awareness, health service use, social support, burdens and stressors and university study related questions. While females generally reported more health problems and psychological burdens, male students felt that they received/had fewer persons to depend on for social support. The comparisons of health and wellbeing variables across the different universities suggested some evidence of ‘clustering’ of the variables under study, whereby favourable situations would be exhibited by a cluster of the variables that is encountered at some universities; and conversely, the clustering of less favourable variables as exhibited at other universities. We conclude that the level of health complaints and psychological problems/burdens is relatively high and calls for increased awareness of university administrators, leaders and policy makers to the health and well-being needs of their students. The observed clustering effects also indicate the need for local (university-specific) health and wellbeing profiles as basis and guidance for relevant health promotion programmes at universities.