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Title: The health impacts of government policy : active labour market training programmes for lone parents in the United Kingdom
Author: Coutts, Adam Peter
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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How does the movement of lone parents from economic inactivity to employment via an active labour market programme (ALMP) affect their health? This study examined the psychosocial health impact of two ALMPs on lone parents in the UK; and whether the change in their psychosocial environment as measured by a newly developed scale of the latent and manifest benefits of employment (LAMB) explain any health impacts. The data for the study were obtained from sixty-two lone parents participating in the programmes who were followed longitudinally for five months. These were compared with a control group (n=56) of economically inactive lone parents at the beginning and end of the course. Structured questionnaires comprising scales of psychological health, self-esteem, mastery, positive and negative affect, self-efficacy, perceived psychosocial environment (LAMB) and social support were administered to the programme participants at three time intervals, i.e., at the beginning, during and end of the programme. In-depth qualitative interviews were also conducted at each time interval with both the programme participants and control group lone parents. The study indicates that entry into the ALMPs produces significant improvements in psychological health, as well as on all other measures as compared to the economically inactive group. Significant changes were also observed on the LAMB scale with enhanced access to latent functions of employment. The quantitative results show that access to social contact and support acts as the main mechanism through which a positive health change occurs. The lack of social contact, i.e., social isolation and financial strain are posited to be responsible for the ill health of the economically inactive lone parents. The research is discussed in relation to the development of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) methodologies, as well as the implications for current UK government emphasis on encouraging lone parents into work via active labour market programmes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available