Spatialising health inequalities in Northern Ireland: A GIS based analysis of the relationship between socioeconomic status and respiratory disease.

Socioeconomic status (SES) is often seen to relate to health inequalities. Wilkinson (1997) found that mortality in developed countries is affected significantly by relative living standards within the population. Social position and material circumstances are said to influence both physiological effects of a lower standard of living and also the psychosocial condition of individuals.

This study will investigate the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and respiratory diseases in NI, using GIS as a tool for visualising and analysing data. Three common indices of deprivation (household income, employment rates and education) and community background/religion will be mapped followed by the number of deaths caused by respiratory disease. Using spatial regression methods, the strength of the relationships between variables will be investigated.

Research into the links between smoking behaviour and socioeconomic deprivation has been widely carried out with a general agreement that more deprived areas have a greater tendency to participate in unhealthy behaviour (Harwood et al. 2007). It is this theory that underpins my research into deprivation and respiratory disease as a consequence of smoking.

The longitudinal data will be used to identify correlations but further research outside of the NILS facility will look at smoking habits across area. This will not be individual level data which could be linked to any NILS/NIMS participants.


Research Team: Dr Jennifer McKinley, Miss Rachel McCann, Dr Steffi Doebler
Database: NIMS
Project Status: Complete
Organisation(s): Queen’s University Belfast