The socio-economic variations in the provision, quality and perception of play areas in Glasgow

McAdam, Chloe M. (2010) The socio-economic variations in the provision, quality and perception of play areas in Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In order to examine the possible health implications of outdoor play areas, this
PhD used a multi-methods approach to examine socio-economic variations in the
provision, quality and perceptions of publicly available outdoor play areas in
Glasgow, with the underpinning philosophy that play areas may be used as a
locale for children to engage in physically active play.
The locations of play areas were mapped using GIS software and spatial
variations were examined by deprivation. A sample (n=100) of play areas in the
highest, middle and lowest quintiles of deprivation were visited and an objective
quality audit was undertaken assessing their safety and aesthetics. Pupils in P6
(mean age=9.9 years) were recruited from a school in a highly deprived area and
a school in an area of low social deprivation. Sixty two “Draw-and-write”
activities and four focus groups were conducted with children to investigate
preferences for play and benefits and barriers for visiting play areas. Interviews
were also conducted with seven play area maintenance men and two mothers to
investigate their views on local play provision.
Whilst there was greater provision of play areas in deprived areas of Glasgow,
some aspects of their quality were poorer. Children and adults spoke about
safety from injury and strangers, and a lack of suitable facilities as barriers to
using play areas. Vandalism, misuse and youth disorder were also strong themes
in all qualitative research. The barriers for play for children from a deprived
area were of a more serious nature compared to children from a less deprived
area and those aspects of safety and incivilities which were objectively
measured as worse in deprived areas, were also ones that acted as barriers for
parents and children. Thus, it is those children who may be in greatest need for
free access to safe and healthy play spaces that face more (and often more
serious) barriers to play.
Although play areas might provide children with opportunity to be physically
active, access to facilities alone may not always mean they are used. Further
research evaluating refurbishments to play areas may help to determine whether
improvements made to play areas would impact upon their use and physical
activity levels of users.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Physical activity, play, deprivation, neighbourhoods
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Macintyre, Prof. Sally and Mutrie, Prof. Nanette
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Mrs Chloe McAdam
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-1936
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:48

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