Migration Between Identity (In)congruent Places and its Effects on the Wellbeing of a Northern Irish Sample

Hyden, D. (2018) CALLS Hub conference, University of St Andrews, UK, 23 March 2018 [NILS]

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According to neighbourhood effects research literature, moving to less stressful neighbourhoods with better amenities, improved housing conditions and contact with new social networks with healthier lifestyles are understood to be some of the mechanisms that have a positive impact on individual wellbeing (Galster, 2012). However, other investigations into the effects of internal migration on wellbeing have so far produced mixed results (e.g., Cheshire, 2007; Van Ham & Manley, 2012).

Potential reasons for the lack of clear evidence for positive outcomes associated with upward social and spatial mobility may be increased individualism (Oishi, 2010) and/or the failure to develop a shared identity which is protective of wellbeing (Jetten, Haslam, Haslam, Dingle, & Jones, 2014; Jetten, Haslam, & Haslam, 2012). This research therefore examines the links between identity, neighbourhood, wellbeing and internal migration in Northern Ireland. This presents an interesting case study because as well as moves through social deprivation space there are the added issues of sectarianism and local political territoriality (Anderson & Shuttleworth, 1998; Shirlow & Coulter, 2014).

Northern Ireland is also well placed as a location in which to undertake this research because the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) constitutes a 28% sample of the population. To this end, a range of analytic techniques including multilevel modelling and discrete-time survival analysis were employed on a NILS distinct-linkage project. While results indicated a significant effect of migration across deprivation space, the results for migration between identity (in)congruent places were inconclusive. The implications of these results will be discussed.

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