Family Physical Activity and Health in Everton: The People's Family Project

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The objective of this thesis was to examine how psychological theories and sociological concepts can be used to better understand health behaviour change amongst families living in Everton, north-west England. In doing so, three research questions are addressed: (1) What is the social composition and health status of Everton families and how can these insights be used to inform the development of an intervention which aims to generate positive behaviour change within these families?; (2) How can sociological theories and psychological concepts be used to explain processes of behaviour change amongst families involved in The People's Family Project?; and (3) How effective is the community-based People's Family Project in generating positive behaviour change and what are the core mechanisms and processes which help account for any behaviour change? A three-phase approach to the research was adopted in this mixed-methods study undertaken with parents and children and explored using an ecological framework. A process evaluation approach, which drew upon the key sociological theories of figurations, networks of interdependency, habitus, power and capital alongside the psychological constructs of behaviour change, namely self-efficacy and motivation was also used.
Phase 1 explored the social demographics and health behaviours of families living in Everton (N=55) to provide the basis of a holistic family-based health intervention (the PFP). Phase 2 included the deployment of pre-intervention measures, intervention delivery, and mid- and immediate-post-intervention outcomes (N=14 families), and Phase 3 included repeat measurements at 6- and 12-months post-intervention (N=7). Results demonstrated that the intervention had little impact on smoking and alcohol behaviours but did have a significant and long-term impact on parental physical activity (PA), and a significant impact on mental well-being and dietary quality, however these changes were not maintained statistically at follow-up. Qualitative analysis suggested the intervention led to various physical, social and psychological benefits for families, which were explained using the programme theory developed as part of the process evaluation.
Date of Award5 Apr 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorANDY SMITH (Director of Studies), EVELYN CARNEGIE (Supervisor) & DAVID MARCHANT (Supervisor)


  • The People's Family Project
  • physical benefits
  • social benefits and psychological benefits
  • family physical activity

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