Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing at the University of Stirling
Little is known about individuals who live in stigmatised areas who are also experiencing stigma related to disability and/or ageing. Furthermore, older disabled adults are under-represented and often excluded from the practical processes that support them.
Dr McCall, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing at the University of Stirling, said: “Neighbourhoods unfairly tarred with a reputation of being ‘undesirable’ are often some of the most multi-deprived areas that carry a sense of stigma linked to exclusion, poverty and marginality.
“Little is known about individuals who live in stigmatised areas who are also experiencing stigma related to disability and/or ageing. Furthermore, older disabled adults are under-represented and often excluded from the practical processes that support them.
“This research project will improve our understanding of how social and economic inequalities affect people in later life and identify and implement practical ways to improve inclusivity and tackle stigmatising processes.”
Previous research has shown that disabled people in England, Scotland and Wales are more likely to live in deprived areas compared to people who are not disabled, and in Wales, disabled people make up 1 in 3 of those living in areas of multiple deprivation.
Dr McCall added: “We know that disabled people with pre-existing conditions, living in the most deprived areas are particularly vulnerable to experiencing increased inequalities, including poor housing, ill-health, loneliness and ageism.
“The current approaches to tackling stigma focus on individual stigma – raising awareness about discrimination against disabled people for example – which is important but far from sufficient, and we know very little about how stigma intersects in different ways.
“In order to develop a better approach, we need to understand how stigma attached to where people live, disability, and ageing intersect to give nuanced insights to the structures and systems that drive exclusion and to tackle inequalities experienced by older disabled adults.”
The research will be carried out by Dr McCall in partnership with University of Stirling colleagues, Dr Kim McKee, Professor Alasdair Rutherford and Dr Dianne Theakstone, and Dr Louise Reid of the University of St Andrews, Professor Rose Gilroy of Newcastle University and Professor David Manley from the University of Bristol. The project will launch in September 2022, with the final report expected in 2027.