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Title: 'Being a smoker' : investigating smoking identities in different socio-economic groups in England
Author: Farrimond, Hannah Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 6428
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Smoking is strongly linked to disadvantage (Jarvis & Wardle, 1999). Psychological approaches to studying the 'poor smoker' have tended to neglect potentially important 'macro-social' factors. This thesis takes a social psychological approach, focused on social identity (Campbell, 1997). It aims to consider the construction of identities and meaning-systems amongst different socio-economic status groups in England. Two studies were undertaken, representing a mixed methodological approach. In the first study, smokers and non-smokers from higher and lower socio-economic groups were given a conceptual map task to capture their spontaneous associations with the topic. This was followed by an in-depth interview. A thematic analysis showed that smokers were identified as 'unhealthy, stressed out and addicted'. They were also identified with 'Other' already stigmatised groups such as the old, the young and working-class groups. Non-smokers emphasised a moral discourse surrounding smoking to draw boundaries between themselves and 'bad' smokers. Higher SES smokers tended to distance themselves from the negative dimensions of smoking identities, whereas lower SES tended to internalise them. The second study was a Q-methodological one, comprising a sample of smokers from different SES groups. A six-factor model of 'smoking identities' was generated. Three identities oriented around a biomedical model of smoking as an addictive health risk. The other three reflected alternative or paradoxical constructions of smoking based on pleasure, freedom and the rights of smokers. It is concluded that taking into account smoking identities and the conceptual understandings underlying them offers the opportunity to locate health promotion where the audience is thinking (Joffe, 2002). This is particularly important when targeting lower SES smokers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available