Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: "Treading in sand": A qualitative study of the impact of austerity on inequalities in mental health
Author(s): Mattheys, Kate
Warren, Jonathan
Bambra, Clare
Contact Email:
Keywords: health inequalities
neighborhood effects
social determinants of health
social policy
Issue Date: 31-Dec-2018
Citation: Mattheys K, Warren J & Bambra C (2018) "Treading in sand": A qualitative study of the impact of austerity on inequalities in mental health. Social Policy and Administration, 52 (7), pp. 1275-1289.
Abstract: Successive UK governments since 2010 have adopted policies of austerity characterized by public spending and social security cuts. There has been little qualitative research exploring the effects of these policies on inequalities in mental health. This article presents findings from a case study of Stockton‐on‐Tees, a local authority in the North East of England with exceptionally high spatial and socio‐economic inequalities. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with people experiencing mental health problems in different areas of the local authority, alongside interviews with key stakeholders. The findings offer an insight into spatial inequalities in people's lives, and the impact of deprivation on mental health. They suggest that austerity measures are having a damaging impact on individuals and communities in the most deprived areas of this unequal place, whilst leaving those from less deprived areas relatively unscathed—with the exception of increased job insecurity. The cuts in social security are impacting on health through both material and psychosocial pathways including increased financial hardship and chronic stress. The intrusion of the state into people's everyday lives was such that the notion of the “home as an asylum” was broken, giving many no respite from the draining day‐to‐day experiences of poverty. The findings are discussed in relation to the continuing program of welfare changes and public spending cuts in the United Kingdom, including avenues for further research and key recommendations for policymakers
DOI Link: 10.1111/spol.12348
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Mattheys K, Warren J, Bambra C. “Treading in sand”: A qualitative study of the impact of austerity on inequalities in mental health. Soc Policy Admin. 2018;52:1275–1289, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Treading in Sand Revised Paper ACCEPTED 31.7.17.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version779.71 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.