Community Health Trainers, occupational identity, boundary work and the importance of having time

Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn, Williams, Rachel, Middleton, Geoff , Henderson, Hannah, Crust, Lee and Evans, Adam (2019) Community Health Trainers, occupational identity, boundary work and the importance of having time. In: Fourteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 10th-12th July 2019, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana,Mexico City.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


The introduction of community-based Health Trainers (HTs) in the United Kingdom (UK) has been described as one of the most innovative developments in recent Public Health policy. HTs are tasked with reducing health inequalities in disadvantaged local communities by encouraging clients to develop healthier lifestyles. There is wide variation in the specifics of HTs' roles, however, and this health occupation is currently under-researched, despite being of considerable sociological research interest in relation to occupational identity construction and 'identity work'. HTs' inter-professional interactions with other health professionals are of particular interest. To explore in-depth HTs’ experiences of working in this challenging yet somewhat nebulous role, a qualitative study was undertaken with twenty-five HTs working in England. To theorise the findings, we employ a novel combination of symbolic interactionist perspectives on identity work and boundary work. In this study, we focus particularly on ‘vocabularic’ and ‘associative’ identity work, to explore HTs’ boundary work with other health workers and services. Time emerged as a salient distinguishing feature in this community health role. Understanding the potential health benefits of the long-term, time-intensive support work undertaken by this community health group is of much sociological and also health policy interest.

Keywords:Sociology, Health trainers, Health, Exercise, Identity work, Boundary work, Occupations
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:36047
Deposited On:22 May 2019 15:35

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