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Title: Residential mobility, mental health and welfare reform
Author: Lowe, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 1724
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis qualitatively examines the interplay between service users’ residential mobility and mental health and assesses the ways in which each is influenced or determined by the other. Twenty-five service users in England were over a period of eighteen months interviewed in depth about their experiences of both residential mobility and mental health. These interviews were conducted against the backdrop of the on-going austerity-driven reforms to the welfare state that have witnessed the rapid promulgation of policies designed to spur service user entry into the formal labour market, via the use of restrictions on continued eligibility for particular sickness, disability, and housing benefits, and reductions in their monetary value. Evidence from the interviews is used to test two of the primary models through which the residential mobility patterns of service users have been explained: displacement from unstable lodgings resulting in circulation through disparate residential settings; and entrapment in low quality accommodation in predominately deprived areas. The thesis finds evidence of both scenarios, and reports on the negative health experiences encountered therein. It demonstrates that the extent to which residential circumstances have a negative impact on mental health rests upon whether service users feel unable to exercise any control over their residential choices. The exercise of which is being further compromised by a hastily reformed system for determining on-going eligibility to welfare benefits and a wider retrenchment of the services and facilities around which users have often orientated their lives. Here, invasive and ineffectual medical assessments destabilise service users and threaten a reduction in income, enforced changes in accommodation, and the rupture of their carefully calibrated wellness strategies which, in the absence of wider service provision, are increasingly emplaced in and around users’ own homes. The findings raise considerable questions about the operation of the welfare system and its impact for service users’ health and residential stability.
Supervisor: Moon, Graham ; Deverteuil, Geoffrey Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available