The effect of kin, social network and neighbourhood support on individual wellbeing




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This paper explores the effects of kin, social network and the neighbourhood on an individual’s well-being. The material is drawn from a community-based qualitative study that explored the attitudes and experiences of African-Caribbean adolescents and their families in the north of England towards healthy lifestyles. A convenience sample of 10 African-Caribbean households units comprising 24 adolescents (12–18 years of age) and 18 adults (22–60 years of age) participated in the study with interviews conducted in their homes. The paper focuses on the adult participants’ perception of the role of social support networks and neighbourhood effects on well-being. An in-depth interview schedule was used to explore participants’ perceptions on barriers to health and healthy lifestyles; and factors facilitating and inhibiting good health and healthy lifestyles. Data were subjected to thematic analysis with the aid of a Qualitative Data Analysis software package. Emerging categories were discussed with participants by conducting post interview visits and at community events. Findings indicated that participants believed that being a member of a kin network enhanced one’s well-being, with such networks described as capable of providing protective support for one’s health and well-being. In addition, they preferred to live in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of people of the same ethnicity, despite the effects of neighbourhood deprivation such as poor housing and lack of services. However, participants believed that ethnic segregation leads to marginalisation and further deprivation. These findings suggest that there is a need to explore further the influence of social networks and neighbourhoods on the full spectrum of an individual’s well-being. The study concludes by suggesting that in considering new paradigms for the promotion of well-being, health and social care practitioners need to incorporate ways to promote social support and consider relevant psychosocial and neighbourhood factors in designing models of community well-being.




Ochieng, B. (2011) The effect of kin, social network and neighbourhood support on individual wellbeing. Health and Social Care in the Community, 19 (4), pp. 429-437


Research Institute

Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care