Unravelling the Glasgow effect: The relationship between accumulative bio- psychosocial stress, stress reactivity and Scotland's health problems

Joe Cowley*, John Kiely, Dave Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

To date, multiple hypotheses have been proposed for the Scottish effect and, more specifically, Glasgow's high mortality rate and the associated Glasgow effect. Previous authors have highlighted the improbability of a single factor as responsible for this effect with seventeen possible hypotheses presented. These have ranged from socio-economic factors, lifestyle and cultural factors such as sectarianism, and political and economic factors. Although these may all be contributory factors to this paradox, the underpinning reasons for the observed effect remain relatively unexplained. In this paper, we suggest that the compounding effect of a unique blend of accumulating life stressors may predispose Scots, and particularly socially-disadvantaged Glaswegians, to a wide-range of health disorders. In short, a confluence of social, environmental, attitudinal and cultural stressors perhaps combine to negatively influence biological health. Future directions should consider the stress remediating role of physical activity, and the problems presented by barriers to participation in physical activity and exercise during key transitional stages of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume4
Early online date3 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • biopsychosocial stress
  • Glasgow effect
  • physical activity
  • Scottish effect

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