Authors: Dr James White et al, Cardiff University

Day Two- Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Multi Agency Working

Session Five: 11.15am – 12.45pm


There is a dearth of evidence on the impact that area regeneration programmes have on health. One reason for this is the difficulty of carrying out randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of regeneration programmes. Natural experiments may provide viable alternatives to RCTs. In this project we constructed a natural experiment to evaluate the impact that Communities First regeneration programme had on mental health and social cohesion.

Research questions

RQ1:  “Did the Communities First regeneration programme improve mental health?” 

RQ2:  “Did the Communities First regeneration programme enhance levels of social cohesion?” 

RQ3:  “To what extent are the effects of regeneration on mental health attributable to population replacement?”

RQ4: “What is the effect of the Communities First programme on small-area inequalities in mental health?”

Methods and data sources

Data on 4,558 adults (response 51%) from the Caerphilly Health and Social Needs Longitudinal Study in 2001 and 2008. 1,835 (40%) subjects live in areas that received Communities First interventions between the two waves, with 2,723 resident in areas that did not. The CHSNS provides data on changes in mental health and social cohesion, and social, demographic, and economic risk factors.

The CHSNS data is linked to data from Caerphilly council on Communities First regeneration activities (type, location, duration), information on population migration, mental health and prescribing data from GP consultations, and stored within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) system at Swansea University.

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