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Title: Food provisioning and the domestic food handling practices of the over 60s in the North East of England
Author: Kendall, Helen Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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Over the last decade there has been an unexplained increase in cases of listeriosis in the UK observed almost exclusively in those aged over 60 (SSRC, 2009, ACMSF, 2009). Domestic food safety practices have been hypothesised as one contributing factor to this increase (SSRC, 2009), and this research was funded to explore these practices in more detail. Using the North East of England as the geographical focus for the research, a mixed method approach was chosen using a complement of traditional and innovative research methods in a two-phase approach. Phase 1 was a large-scale administered questionnaire (n=213), designed to profile independently residing older adults (aged 60+) based upon their knowledge of, and reported practices associated with, domestic food safety. Factor and cluster analyses revealed a 3-cluster solution, which provided the basis for detailed narrative typologies of the clusters which were labelled i) ‘Independent Self- assessors’ ii) ‘Experienced Dismissers’ and iii) ‘Compliant Minimalists’ These findings highlighted the heterogeneity of the 60+ population with respect to their living and health circumstances, social networks and their food safety knowledge and behavioural practices. The risk of foodborne illness was not identified as linear with age, rather levels of vulnerability to foodborne risks varied across the cohort. Phase 2 purposively sampled 10 households from Phase 1 for an ethnographically inspired study (EIS), which took a Social Practice Theory perspective to observe domestic food handling practices. Data were generated using life-course interviews fridge auditing including microbiological sampling kitchen ‘go-alongs’ food purchase history, activity recognition and video documentation. In addition to confirming the findings of Phase 1, the substantive theoretical contribution of Phase 2 was the concept of ‘Independence Transitioning’. Food provisioning practices were the observed outcome of the value negotiations made by the household to adapt to the incremental changes experienced as part of the ageing process that facilitated independent living. Although food safety issues were XXV implicit within these practices, they were not a salient factor within food provisioning or handling. This was therefore concluded to compound their risk of contracting illness as a result of foodborne disease.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available