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Collective control, social-cohesion and health and wellbeing: baseline survey results from the communities in control study in England

McGowan, V.J. and Akhter, N. and Halliday, E. and Popay, J. and Kasim, A. and Bambra, C. (2022) 'Collective control, social-cohesion and health and wellbeing: baseline survey results from the communities in control study in England.', Journal of public health., 44 (2). pp. 378-386.


Background: Area-based initiatives (ABIs) are receiving renewed interest as part of ‘place-based public health’ approaches to reducing health inequalities. Purpose: Examine associations between collective control, social-cohesion and health amongst residents involved in the Big Local ABI. Methods: Survey data on general health, mental wellbeing, perceptions of individual and collective control, and social-cohesion was obtained in 2016 for 1600 residents involved in the 150 Big Local ABI areas in England, 862 responded - a response rate of >50%. Adjusted mean differences and adjusted odds ratios were calculated using random effect linear and generalised estimating equation models. Subgroup analysis by gender and educational level was conducted. Results: Mental wellbeing was positively associated with collective control (Mean Difference 3.06 units, 1.23-4.90) and some measures of social cohesion (‘people in the area are willing to help each other’ [Mean Difference 1.77 units, 0.75-2.78]). General health was positively associated with other measures of social cohesion (area-belonging [Odds Ratio 4.25, 2.26-7.97]). Conclusion: Collective control and some aspects of social cohesion were positively associated with better mental wellbeing and self-rated health amongst residents involved with Big Local. These positive associations were often greater amongst women and participants with a lower education. Increasing the collective control residents have in ABIs could improve the health effects of ABIs.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Public Health following peer review. The version of record: McGowan, V.J., Akhter, N., Halliday, E, Popay, J, Kasim, A & Bambra, C,1,2 (2022). Collective control, social-cohesion and health and wellbeing: Baseline survey results from the Communities in Control Study in England. Journal of Public Health 44(2): 378-386 is available online at:
Date accepted:11 November 2020
Date deposited:28 October 2021
Date of first online publication:11 January 2021
Date first made open access:11 January 2022

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