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Publication Detail
Associations between neighbourhood deprivation and engagement in arts, culture and heritage: evidence from two nationally-representative samples
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Mak HW, Coulter R, Fancourt D
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    BMC Public Health
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Status:
  • Language:
Background Previous research has shown the benefits of arts and cultural engagement for physical, mental and social wellbeing. This engagement is socially and geographically patterned. Yet it remains unclear whether place-based attributes are associated with engagement behaviour independent of individual factors. Therefore, the aim of this cross-sectional study was to robustly disentangle associations between geographical deprivation and arts engagement from the individual socio-demographic factors that tend to correlate with residential locations. Methods Two different samples drawn from two representative surveys of adults living in England were compared – Understanding Society Wave 2 (2010/12) (N = 14,782) and Taking Part survey (2010/11) (N = 4575). Propensity score matching (PSM) was applied to investigate the association between neighbourhood deprivation (20% most deprived vs 20% least deprived) and arts engagement (arts participation, cultural attendance and museums and heritage engagement). Results Higher levels of neighbourhood deprivation were associated with lower arts, culture and heritage engagement independent of individuals’ demographic backgrounds, socio-economic characteristics and regional locations. When exploring subcategories of deprivation, similar results were obtained across deprivation domains. Results were also consistent when using more distinct categories of deprivation (i.e. 10% most deprived vs 10% least deprived) and when comparing people living in the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods with those living in the 40% medium-deprived areas. Conclusion This study is the first to apply a robust PSM technique to examine the association between neighbourhood deprivation and arts engagement using two nationally-representative samples. Results show that neighbourhood deprivation may act as a barrier that could prevent people from engaging in the arts, which in turn may exacerbate social and health inequalities. This highlights the importance of place-based schemes that focus on increasing individual motivation and capacity to engage in arts and cultural activities, especially in areas of high deprivation.
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