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Social, economic and cultural capital & health: exploring independent associations between cultural engagement and health: A biosocial analysis of self-reported mental and physical health and biomarkers in Understanding Society.

Walker, Emma; (2024) Social, economic and cultural capital & health: exploring independent associations between cultural engagement and health: A biosocial analysis of self-reported mental and physical health and biomarkers in Understanding Society. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: This thesis addressed gaps in the current evidence basis for the role of arts and culture in health. It used a combination of social theory and quantitative methodology to examine the relationship between cultural engagement, social position, and mental, physical, and biological health indicators. Methods: Data from over 40,000 participants in the UK representative Understanding Society dataset were used to generate a latent class model of arts, culture, sports, and heritage engagement patterns. This novel, data-driven model was used to test correlations between cultural engagement latent class membership and a range of socioeconomic and demographic factors. Next, multilevel regression modelling was used to examine cross-sectional associations between class membership and a range of biomarkers. Then, the final analytic chapter tested associations between class membership and trajectories of self-reported mental and physical health. Results: Six latent classes were established, each describing a characteristic pattern of engagement. Factors related to social advantage, such as social and economic capital, education, and parental social position, were found to correlate with class membership. Class membership was then demonstrated to be cross-sectionally associated with biomarkers of dysregulation, and some longitudinal associations between cultural engagement pattern and self-reported mental and physical health function were seen. Whilst covarying factors such as age, education, and capacity to engage explained some of the association, cultural engagement wasfound to be independently associated with indicators of biological dysregulation and some of the self-reported health outcomes. These findings were interpreted using an interdisciplinary approach that combined Bourdieusian sociology, biosocial epidemiology, and systems theory. Conclusions: Overall, this thesis provided evidence in support of current arts (and culture) in health movements, but emphasised the need for academia, policy, and practice to consider how psychosocial barriers might determine who can access the health benefits of cultural engagement.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Social, economic and cultural capital & health: exploring independent associations between cultural engagement and health: A biosocial analysis of self-reported mental and physical health and biomarkers in Understanding Society.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10186816
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