Including 'inclusion health'? A discourse analysis of health inequalities policy reviews

Tweed, E. J. , Popham, F. , Thomson, H. and Katikireddi, S. V. (2021) Including 'inclusion health'? A discourse analysis of health inequalities policy reviews. Critical Public Health, (doi: 10.1080/09581596.2021.1929847) (Early Online Publication)

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The ‘inclusion health’ agenda aims to draw attention to health disadvantages accompanying experiences putatively characterised by social exclusion, such as homelessness, problem substance use, or imprisonment. However, its increasing prominence has surfaced conceptual uncertainties and potential tensions with other understandings of health inequalities. We undertook a discourse analysis of how recent health inequalities policy documents describe, explain, and make recommendations relating to inclusion health. Using the UK as a case study, and with reference to public health accounts of multi-level governance theory, we selected five recent health inequalities policy reviews covering Scotland, UK, European Union, and the World Health Organisation. All documents referred to some inclusion health concerns, though their relative emphasis differed between documents. Terms like inclusion, exclusion, and vulnerability were commonly used, but ill-defined and often ambiguous. Explanatory discourses were diverse, with a particular focus on intergenerational cycles and disproportionate exposure to risk, with a varying emphasis on individual versus structural factors. Few documents provided coherent explanatory accounts for the relationship between the issues of interest to inclusion health, their associations with poor health, and other axes of inequality. Our results suggest that health inequalities policymaking in a multi-level context may benefit from comprehensive conceptual frameworks which encompass diverse forms of social stratification, advantage, and disadvantage, and acknowledge potential tensions and trade-offs between different understandings. This may necessitate further theoretical and empirical work for inclusion health on its definitions, bounds, and how its scope of interest interacts with other forms of social and health inequality.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Katikireddi, Professor Vittal and Tweed, Dr Emily and Popham, Dr Frank and Thomson, Dr Hilary
Authors: Tweed, E. J., Popham, F., Thomson, H., and Katikireddi, S. V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Critical Public Health
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-3682
Published Online:15 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Critical Public Health 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU13
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU15
301147Morbidity and mortality among people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage: a cohort study using cross-sectoral data linkageEmily TweedOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)CAF/17/11HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
172690Understanding the impacts of welfare policy on health: A novel data linkage studySrinivasa KatikireddiOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SCAF/15/02HW - Public Health