Portrait of Dr Jan Macvarish

Dr Jan Macvarish

Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies

About

Dr Jan Macvarish is a Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, working with Dr Ellie Lee.

Research interests

In the Department of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, Dr Macvarish is a researcher working on the Nuffield Foundation-funded project, 'Siblings, Contact and the Law: An Overlooked Relationship?' The study will explore the way in which sibling relationships are conceptualised and dealt with in public care proceedings. 

Dr Macvarish is a sociologist whose work focuses on the study of interpersonal relationships, parenting, family life, health, sex and intimacy. She is the author of the book 'Neuroparenting: The expert invasion of family life' (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) and co-author of 'Parenting Culture Studies(Palgrave Macmillan 2014). She has published research on contemporary singleness, teenage pregnancy and parenthood, the regulation of fertility treatment and abortion, and the use and abuse of neuroscience. 

Publications

Article

  • Macvarish, J. and Lee, E. (2019). Constructions of Parents in Adverse Childhood Experiences Discourse. Social Policy and Society [Online] 18:467-477. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746419000083.
    In December 2017, the House of Commons Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee put out a
    call for submissions to an Inquiry which would consider the evidence-base for early intervention policies,
    with a particular focus on ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ or ACEs. This paper analyses those
    submissions and the transcripts of the Inquiry’s oral sessions in the belief that they constitute a useful
    window through which to explore the types of claims being made in ACEs discourse. Our aim is to assess
    whether the ACEs phenomenon represents a continuity with what has been termed the ‘first three years
    movement’ (Thornton, 2011a and b): social policy and philanthropic activism which focuses on the earliest
    years of life in the name of preventing social problems ‘down the line’. In particular, we consider
    constructions of parents as determinate of these social problems through their influence on their children
    and the ways in which these are gendered in new ways.
  • Lee, E., Sheldon, S. and Macvarish, J. (2018). The 1967 Abortion Act fifty years on: Abortion, medical authority and the law revisited. Social Science and Medicine [Online] 212:26-32. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.07.010.
    The recent 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act provides the opportunity to
    revisit what has been termed the ‘remarkable authority’ this Act ascribes to doctors.
    This paper does so using as its starting point a seminal commentary on this question
    by the renowned medical sociologist Sally Macintyre, published in this journal in
    1973 as ‘The Medical Profession and the 1967 Abortion Act in Britain’. We revisit
    themes from that paper through an analysis of the findings of interviews with 14
    doctors who, throughout lengthy careers, have provided abortions and led the
    development of the abortion service in England and Wales. We contrast our findings
    with Macintyre’s, and argue that our interviews highlight the shifting meaning of
    medical authority and medical professionalism. We show that those doctors most
    involved in providing abortions place moral value on this work; uphold the authority
    of women (not doctors) in abortion decision-making; view nurses and midwives as
    professional collaborators; and consider their professional and clinical judgement
    impeded by the present law. We conclude that medical sociologists have much to gain
    by taking abortion provision as a focus for the further exploration of the shifting meaning of medical authority.
  • Sheldon, S., Lee, E. and Macvarish, J. (2015). ’Supportive Parenting’, Responsibility and Regulation: The Welfare Assessment under the Reformed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990). The Modern Law Review [Online] 78:461-492. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2230.12124.
    Section 13(5) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 requires fertility clinics, before offering regulated treatment services, to take account of the welfare of any child who may be born as a result of the treatment and any other child affected by that birth. This paper presents the findings of an empirical study examining the impact on practice of the controversial reform of this section in 2008. While the broad values underpinning section 13(5) appear well embedded in clinic staff's engagement with ethical issues, there is little evidence that practice has been influenced by the 2008 amendments. A complex picture emerged regarding the implementation of section 13(5), particularly in its interaction with other factors, such as funding criteria and professional norms around counselling, implying a higher level of ongoing attention to likely parenting ability – particularly that of single women – than might be expected from a reading of the statute and guidance alone.
  • Macvarish, J., Lee, E. and Lowe, P. (2015). Neuroscience and family policy: What becomes of the parent?. Critical Social Policy [Online]:1-22. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261018315574019.
    This article discusses the findings of a study tracing the incorporation of
    claims about infant brain development into English family policy as part
    of the longer term development of a ‘parent training’, early intervention
    agenda. The main focus is on the ways in which the deployment of
    neuroscientific discourse in family policy creates the basis for a new
    governmental oversight of parents. We argue that advocacy of ‘early
    intervention’, in particular that which deploys the authority of ‘the neuroscience’,
    places parents at the centre of the policy stage but simultaneously
    demotes and marginalises them. So we ask, what becomes of
    the parent when politically and culturally, the child is spoken of as infinitely
    and permanently neurologically vulnerable to parental influence?
    In particular, the policy focus on parental emotions and their impact on
    infant brain development indicates that this represents a biologisation
    of ‘therapeutic’ governance.
  • Lowe, P., Lee, E. and Macvarish, J. (2015). Biologising parenting: neuroscience discourse, English social and public health policy and understandings of the child. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1111/1467-9566.12223.
    In recent years, claims about children's developing brains have become central to the formation of child health and welfare policies in England. While these policies assert that they are based on neuro-scientific discoveries, their relationship to neuroscience itself has been debated. However, what is clear is that they portray a particular understanding of children and childhood, one that is marked by a lack of acknowledgment of child personhood. Using an analysis of key government-commissioned reports and additional advocacy documents, this article illustrates the ways that the mind of the child is reduced to the brain, and this brain comes to represent the child. It is argued that a highly reductionist and limiting construction of the child is produced, alongside the idea that parenting is the main factor in child development. It is concluded that this focus on children's brains, with its accompanying deterministic perspective on parenting, overlooks children's embodied lives and this has implications for the design of children's health and welfare services.
  • Lowe, P., Lee, E. and Macvarish, J. (2015). Growing better brains? Pregnancy and neuroscience discourses in English social and welfare policies. Health, Risk & Society [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13698575.2014.994479.
    In recent years, English welfare and health policy has started to include pregnancy
    within the foundation stage of child development. The foetus is also increasingly
    designated as ‘at risk’ from pregnant women. In this article, we draw on an analysis
    of a purposive sample of English social and welfare policies and closely related
    advocacy documents to trace the emergence of neuroscientific claims-making in
    relation to the family. In this article, we show that a specific deterministic understanding
    of the developing brain that only has a loose relationship with current
    scientific evidence is an important component in these changes. We examine the
    ways in which pregnancy is situated in these debates. In these debates, maternal stress
    is identified as a risk to the foetus; however, the selective concern with women living
    in disadvantage undermines biological claims. The policy claim of neurological ‘critical
    windows’ also seems to be influenced by social concerns. Hence, these emerging
    concerns over the foetus’ developing brain seem to be situated within the gendered
    history of policing women’s pregnant bodies rather than acting on new insights from
    scientific discoveries. By situating these developments within the broader framework
    of risk consciousness, we can link these changes to wider understandings of the ‘at
    risk’ child and intensified surveillance over family life.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2014). Assessing Child Welfare under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: A Case Study in Medicalization?. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 36:500-515. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12078.
    This article reports findings from a study of interviews with 66 members of staff working in assisted conception clinics in the UK about their experience of making ‘welfare of the child’ (WOC) assessments pre-conception. This aspect of the provision of infertility treatment services is obligatory under section 13(5) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. This provision was amended in 2008 and the primary aim of the study was to find out how this change had impacted on practice. In describing what we found, we also make a contribution to scholarship about the medicalization of reproduction. Section 13(5) has often been discussed as a prime example of medicalization, as it gives clinics power to grant or deny access to infertility treatment on wide ranging ‘child welfare’ grounds, encompassing far more than purely clinical considerations. Yet while such medicalization may be entrenched in the law, our findings suggest this power is used in a very ‘light touch’ way, with clinics explicitly directed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that they should operate with a presumption to treat. Further, while our interviewees offered near-universal support for the need to consider child welfare before offering treatment, this is now justified by concerns which focus not on family form (e.g. the need for a father figure) but more on the quality of interactions and relationships between parents and children. In this light, and by virtue of the fact that a wide variety of clinic staff share the gatekeeping role with doctors, we suggest that the concept of medicalization may offer a rather blunt tool for understanding a far more complex reality.
  • Macvarish, J., Lee, E. and Lowe, P. (2014). The ‘First Three Years’ Movement and the Infant Brain: A Review of Critiques. Sociology Compass [Online] 8:792-804. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12183.
    This article reviews a particular aspect of the critique of the increasing focus on the brain and neuroscience; what has been termed by some, ‘neuromania’. It engages with the growing literature produced in response to the ‘first three years’ movement: an alliance of child welfare advocates and politicians that draws on the authority of neuroscience to argue that social problems such as inequality, poverty, educational underachievement, violence and mental illness are best addressed through ‘early intervention’ programmes to protect or enhance emotional and cognitive aspects of children's brain development. The movement began in the United States in the early 1990s and has become increasingly vocal and influential since then, achieving international legitimacy in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and elsewhere. The movement, and the brain-based culture of expert-led parent training that has grown with it, has been criticised for claiming scientific authority whilst taking a cavalier approach to scientific method and evidence; for being overly deterministic about the early years of life; for focusing attention on individual parental failings rather than societal or structural problems, for adding to the expanding anxieties of parents and strengthening the intensification of parenting and, ultimately, for redefining the parent–child relationship in biologised, instrumental and dehumanised terms.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2013). The role of counsellors in infertility clinics. BioNews [Online]. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_249841.asp?hlight=The+role+of+counsellors+in+infertility+clinics.
    Counselling has become an increasingly central – and sometimes mandatory – part of the provision of infertility treatment services in the UK, although its role is not always clearly defined. In a recent research project, we interviewed 66 staff, with different roles at 20 clinics that provide infertility treatment services (around one quarter of the total). Our research offered some interesting insights into the role of counsellors in this process.
  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Bristow, J. (2010). Risk, health and parenting culture. Health, Risk & Society [Online] 12:293-300. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13698571003789732.
    In this Editorial, we have three aims. We mainly aim to highlight the key issues raised in the papers that follow, and orient readers to some thematic and methodological connections between them. We have divided the papers into three thematic groups: expert-led constructions of the risk-managing parent; risk society and the development of parental identity with reference to food; and extending 'parenting' backwards. We explain what we mean by these themes and how each paper fits in. We also seek to explain the background to this special issue of Health Risk and Society, and we describe the seminar series that gave rise to it, and make some points about what we mean by the general subject area for that series, 'parenting culture'. Our final objective is to draw attention to a key point that emerges from the research discussed here, namely the importance of 'parenting' as a key site for the development of the risk-centred society and risk-consciousness.
  • Macvarish, J. (2010). The effect of ’risk-thinking’ on the contemporary construction of teenage motherhood. Health, Risk & Society [Online] 12:313-322. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13698571003789724.
    In Britain over the past 12 years, despite the normalising of sex and reproduction outside marriage and contrary to the evidence that there are fewer teenage parents than in the past, teenage parenthood has become amplified as a social problem. The existence of such a paradox suggests that this problematisation has captured a number of significant political and social dynamics and anxieties, in particular, the co-existence of widespread concern with social disorder and moral decline with the recognition that past forms of social and moral ordering have an alienating rather than a cohering effect. This paper explores: how the problem of teenage pregnancy has been both amplified and redefined; the role of public health discourse in de-moralising the problem; expanding notions of harm to the child; the construction of the teenage mother as lacking in rational and moral agency; and the construction of her and her child as a social threat. Through an engagement with critiques of teenage pregnancy policy, risk theory and recent developments within the study of 'parenting culture', this paper seeks to explain why the 'teenage mother' has such symbolic power despite an apparent de-moralisation of sex.

Book

  • Lee, E., Bristow, J., Faircloth, C. and Macvarish, J. (2014). Parenting Culture Studies. [Online]. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137304612.
    Why do we live at a time when the minutiae of how parents raise their children – how they feed them, talk to them, play with them or discipline them – have become routine sources of public debate and policy making? Why are there now so-called 'parenting experts', and social movements like Attachment Parenting, telling us that 'science says' what parents do is the cause of and solution to social problems?

    Parenting Culture Studies provides in-depth answers to these features of contemporary social life drawing on a wide range of sources from sociology, history, anthropology, psychology and policy studies to do so, covering developments in both Europe and North America. Key chapters cover the 'intensification of parenting', the rise of the 'parenting expert', the politicizing of parent-child relationships, and the weakening of bonds between generations. Five essays detail contemporary examples of obsessions with parenting, discussing drinking and pregnancy, attachment theory, neuroscience and family policy, fathering, and 'helicopter parenting'. The Introduction situates parental determinism in the wider context of risk consciousness and the demise of social confidence about how to approach the future. Comprehensive in scope and accessibly written, this book will be an indispensable resource for students, researchers, policy-makers and parents seeking a deeper understanding of the debates surrounding parenting and society today.

Book section

  • Macvarish, J., Lee, E. and Lowe, P. (2016). Understanding the Rise of Neuroparenting. In: We Need to Talk about Family : Essays on Neoliberalism, the Family and Popular Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 95-117.
  • Macvarish, J. and Billings, J. (2010). Challenging the irrational, amoral and anti-social construction of the ‘teenage mother’. In: Duncan, S., Edwards, R. and Alexander, C. eds. Teenage Parenthood: What’s the Problem?. London: Tufnell Press, pp. 47-69.

Conference or workshop item

  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Lowe, P. (2013). Biologising Parenting: Neuroscience Discourse and English Social and Public Health Policy. In: Uses and Abuses of Biology. Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/ParentingCultureStudies/biologising-parenting-neuroscience-discourse-and-english-social-and-public-health-policy.

Internet publication

  • Macvarish, J. (2010). Understanding the Significance of the Teenage Mother in Contemporary Parenting Culture [on-line]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5153/sro.2238.
    This paper attempts to understand the prominence given to teenage pregnancy in policy discussions since the late-1990s by contextualising it within a broader analysis of the contemporary 'culture of parenting'. The emerging field of parenting culture studies has begun to develop an analysis of the key features of policy, practice and informal culture. Three key concepts are discussed to shed an alternative light on the issue of teenage pregnancy and parenthood with the hope of further developing the healthy debate that has emerged in recent years in response to policy priorities: the development of 'parental tribalism' whereby differing parental choices and behaviour become a site for identity formation; the idea of a deficit at the level of parenting and intimate familial relationships; the reconceptualising of the parent as an autonomous, authoritative adult to a more infantilised imagining. The teenage mother, herself neither adult nor child, becomes emblematic of these developments.

Monograph

  • Lee, E., Macvarish, J. and Sheldon, S. (2012). Assessing Child Welfare Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: The New Law. Summary of Findings. University of Kent. Available at: http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/parentingculturestudies/files/2012/06/Summary_Assessing-Child-Welfare-final.pdf.
    In 1990 the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act introduced an extensive legal framework for all research and treatment using human embryos in the UK. One short section of this Act placed on assisted conception services an obligation to assess ‘the welfare of the child’ (WOC) who may be born as a result of treatment pre-conception. This part of the HFE Act became the subject of research and debate in the subsequent years.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2010). Am I Bovvered? A Participative Action Research Study to Develop, Implement and Evaluate Physical Activity Interventions With Girls. Phases Two and Three Report. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    The "Am I Bovvered?" project is a two-year study aiming to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable exercise-based interventions with girls aged 11-15 years in order to improve their engagement in regular physical activity. The study took place in three phases that corresponded with the project?s main aims:

    The aims of the first phase of the study were to:
    Explore factors that motivate and create barriers to 11-12 and 14-15 year old girls engaging in regular physical activity (Phase One).

    The aims of the second and third phases were to:
    Develop and implement activities chosen by inactive 11-12 and 14-15 year old girls with the support of a multi-agency team (Phase Two).
    Evaluate the impact of the project, examining factors associated with young girls? engagement in physical exercise (Phase Three).
    Make recommendations for policy and practice.
  • Billings, J. and Macvarish, J. (2010). Self-Efficacy: Addressing Behavioural Attitudes Towards Risky Behaviour - An International Literature Review. European Regional Development Fund.
    The present report summarizes the work of the cross-frontier group which was established, within the
    framework of Interreg IV, to consider the concept of self-efficacy. A first full-scale study entitled "Let's
    Talk/Parlez-moi d'amour" had already been undertaken, under the aegis of the Interreg III programme, by
    several of the partners involved, to examine perceptions in Kent and the Somme of teenage pregnancy as a
    social phenomenon. This initial project was concluded in 2007 by a conference in Amiens, Somme, during
    which the French and English research groups were able to present and discuss their findings.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2009). Am I Bovvered: A Participative Action Research Study to Develop, Implement & Evaluate Physical Activity Interventions in Young Girls, Phases Two and Three - Executive Summary. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    The ‘Am I Bovvered?’ project was a two-year study aiming to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable exercise-based interventions with girls aged 11-15 years in order to improve their engagement in regular physical activity. The study took place in three phases that corresponded with the project’s main aims. This summary provides an account of Phases Two and Three.
    The aims of the first phase of the study were to:
    Explore factors that motivate and create barriers to 11-12 and 14-15 year old girls engaging in regular physical activity (Phase One has been completed -http://www.kent.ac.uk/CHSS/docs/Am_I_Bovvered_Phase_One.pdf).
    The aims of the second and third phases were to:
    Develop and implement activities chosen by inactive 11-12 and 14-15 year old girls with the support of a multi-agency team (Phase Two).
    Evaluate the impact of the project, examining factors associated with young girls’ engagement in physical exercise (Phase Three).
    Make recommendations for policy and practice.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2008). Am I Bovvered? A Participative Action Research Study to Develop, Implement and Evaluate Physical Activity Interventions With Girls. Phase One Report. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    The "Am I Bovvered?" project is a two-year study aiming to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable exercise-based interventions with girls aged 11-15 years in order to improve their engagement in regular physical activity. The study took place in three phases that corresponded with the project?s main aims:

    The aims of the first phase of the study were to: Explore factors that motivate and create barriers to 11-12 and 14-15 year old girls engaging in regular physical activity (Phase One).
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2008). Am I Bovvered? A Participative Action Research Study to Develop, Implement and Evaluate Physical Activity Interventions With Girls Phase One Report EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    The ‘Am I Bovvered?’ project is a two-year study aiming to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable exercise-based interventions with girls aged 11-15 years in order to improve their engagement in regular physical activity. This report summarises the findings from the first phase of this three-part project. This was an exploratory phase of the study, using focus groups with girls aged 11-12 and 14-15, recruited from two schools in Thanet, East Kent. These same schools will collaborate in the further phases of the project.
    The focus groups were designed to gain insights into the girls’ understandings of the relationship between health and physical activity and their attitudes towards sport both in and out of school. Findings from the focus groups will be used to inform the next phase of the study, when interventions will be planned and implemented
  • Billings, J. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Teenage Parents’ Experiences of Parenthood and Views of Family Support Services in Kent - Service Users Report, Postnatal. Executive Summary. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/PNexecsummaryfinal6Sept07(final).pdf.
    This document reports on the second part of a study exploring the views and experiences of teenage parents across Kent. The young people had been interviewed during the third trimester of the pregnancy and were interviewed again approximately one year after the birth of their child. The research was conducted as part of a larger study into teenagers’ views and experiences of sex and relationships education, sexual health services and family support services in the county. The research was commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership.
    The contribution made by this study is to offer insights into the lived experience of Kent teenagers, both female and male, as they deal with becoming parents. By asking them to reflect upon their early experiences of parenthood it is possible to capture both the diversity in circumstances and experiences and to identify areas of commonality that may be of use in the improvement of service provision. Services and professionals can also benefit from the specific insights gained into the way they are experienced by users.
  • Billings, J. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Teenager Parents’ Views and Experiences of Sex and Relationships Education, Sexual Health Services and Family Support Services in Kent. Service Users Report, Postnatal. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    This document reports on the second part of a study exploring the views and experiences of teenage parents across Kent. The young people had been interviewed during the third trimester of the pregnancy and were interviewed again approximately one year after the birth of their child. The research was conducted as part of a larger study into teenagers' views and experiences of sex and relationships eduction, sexual health services and family support services in the county.
  • Billings, J., Macvarish, J. and Appleton, S. (2007). Teenage Parent’s Views and Experiences of Sex and Relationships Education, Sexual Health Services and Family Support Services in Kent - Service Users Report, Antenatal. Executive Summary. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/AntenatalExecSumm(final).pdf.
    This document reports on the first part of a study exploring the views and experiences of pregnant teenagers across Kent. The young people were interviewed during the third trimester, as a point when the decision to proceed with the pregnancy was well-established. A second report will be released in Spring 2007, exploring the postnatal experience of the same sample. The research was conducted as part of a larger study into teenagers' views and experiences of sex and relationships education, sexual health services and family support services in Kent. the research was commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Let’s Talk: Attitudes and Values about Sex and Relationships Among Young People and Professionals. Phase 2: Development, Implementation and Evaluation of Two Interventions. Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/Interreg_Interventions_1_&_2_Report.pdf.
    The Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership and the Conseil General de la Somme developed an Interreg action research project in partnership, entitled ‘Let’s Talk’ to explore young people’s attitudes, values and beliefs regarding sex and relationships to go some way towards understanding elevated teenage pregnancy rates in Kent. Parts of Kent and the partner area of the Somme in France share similar problems such as a higher than national average level of teenage birth rates, though there are marked variations within the Primary Care Trusts.

    This project consisted of two phases. Phase One was the data collection phase, and was used to inform Phase Two of the project. In Phase One, young people and professionals were invited to explore their attitudes and values towards sex, relationships, sexual health and teenage pregnancy in a number of focus groups. Phase Two involved the development of two interventions that were designed based on the knowledge gained from Phase One.

    Two interventions were developed and evaluated following Phase One: the first, a six week course on sex and relationships education (SRE) in a secondary school in West Kent which forms the basis of this report; and the second, an evaluation of two sex and relationships education road-shows in East Kent.
    This section of the document reports on the findings from Phase Two of the project and discusses the results of the evaluation of one of the two interventions that were developed with health professionals, school nurses and school teachers.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Looked-After Children’s Views of Sex and Relationships Education and Sexual Health Services. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/LACFullFinal10Oct2007(final).pdf.
    This document reports on the findings from a project exploring teenage looked-after children's views of sex and relationships education and sexual health services. Commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, this project formed part of a larger programme of study on teenage pregnancy that took place across Kent between 2004 and 2007.
  • Billings, J., Hastie, C., Jenkins, L. and Macvarish, J. (2007). A Survey of Teenagers’ Views of Sex and Relationships Education and Sexual Health Services in Kent. Executive Summary. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/SurveyExecSummary27nov.pdf.
    Funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, this survey was carried out as part of a broader programme of study into teenagers’ views and experiences of sex and relationship education, sexual health services and family support services in Kent. The project was composed of three parts:
    Project One (the focus of this report) constituted the quantitative part of our research, which included two school-based surveys conducted between September 2004 and January 2006 with a total of 4000 15 to 16 year old
    school pupils;
    Project Two gauged the attitudes and experiences of looked-after children regarding sexual health education and relationships advice by conducting focus groups with 20 15 to 20 year olds (Billings, Hashem & Macvarish 2007);
    Project Three was a longitudinal qualitative study exploring the views of teenage parents during the antenatal (n = 38) and postnatal periods (n = 17).
    It was concerned with finding out their experiences of family support services, as well as obtaining their views on sex and relationships education and sexual health services.
  • Billings, J., Hastie, C., Jenkins, L. and Macvarish, J. (2007). A Survey of Teenagers’ Views of Sex and Relationships Education and Sexual Health Services in Kent. Full Report. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/SurveyFull27Nov.pdf.
    This report provides the methodological outline and findings of Project One. The purpose of this project was to:
    . describe how teenagers currently get information about sexual health and relationships and the value placed on these sources
    . identify the nature, strengths and weaknesses of sexual health education received
    . ascertain the up-take, strengths and weaknesses of any sexual health services used in the community
    . describe the extent to which education and health services have prepared young people and whether they have influenced behaviour
    . identify ways services can be improved
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Looked-After Children’s Views of Sex and Relationships Education and Sexual Health Services - Executive Summary. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/LACexecsummfinal5Sept(fianl).pdf.
    This document reports on the findings from a project exploring teenage looked-after children’s views of sex and relationships education and sexual health services. Commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, the project formed part of a larger programme of study on teenage pregnancy that took place across Kent between 2004 and 2007. The project was composed of three parts:
    . Project One constituted the quantitative part of our research, which included a survey carried out with 4000 15 to 16 year old school pupils.
    . Project Two (which this document reports upon) gauged the attitudes and experiences of looked-after children regarding sexual health education and relationships advice by conducting focus groups with 15 to 20 year olds.
    . Project Three was a longitudinal qualitative study exploring the views of teenage parents during the antenatal and postnatal periods. It was concerned with finding out their experiences of family support services, as well as obtaining their views on sex and relationships education and sexual health services.
    The rationale behind Project Two was to ensure the incorporation of the views of more ‘vulnerable’ teenagers, who were considered less likely to be included in the survey sample of school-children.
  • Billings, J., Hashem, F. and Macvarish, J. (2007). Looked-After Children’s Views of Sex and Relationships Education and Sexual Health Services. Full Report. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/LACFullFinal10Oct2007(final).pdf.
    This document reports on the findings from a project exploring teenage looked-after children’s views of sex and relationships education and sexual health services. Commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, this project formed part of a larger programme of study on teenage pregnancy that took place across Kent between 2004 and 2007.
  • Billings, J., Macvarish, J. and Appleton, S. (2007). Teenager Parents’ Views and Experiences of Sex and Relationships Education, Sexual Health Services and Family Support Services in Kent. Service Users Report, Antenatal. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/antenatalfull4Oct07(final).pdf.
    This document reports on the first part of a study exploring the views and experiences of pregnant teenagers across Kent. The young people were interviewed antenatally, during the third trimester. A second report will be released in Spring 2007, exploring the postnatal experience of the same sample.
  • Billings, J., Macvarish, J. and Appleton, S. (2006). Service Development Programme: Maximising Life Opportunities for Teenagers. Teenager parents’ Views and Experiences of Sex and Relationship Education, Sexual Health Services and Family Support Services in Kent - Summary of Antenatal Findings. Centre for Health Services Studies. Available at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/chss/researchcentre/docs/teenage_antenatal_report.pdf.
    This document reports on the first part of a study exploring the views and experiences of pregnant teenagers across Kent. The young people were interviewed during the third trimester, at a point when the decision to proceed with the pregnancy was well-established. A second report will be released in Spring 2007, exploring the postnatal experience of the same sample. The research was conducted as part of a larger study into teenagers’ views and experiences of sex and relationships education, sexual health services and family support services in Kent. The research was commissioned and funded by the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Partnership.

    The contribution made by this study is to offer insights into the lived experience of Kent teenagers, both female and male, as they deal with becoming parents. By asking them to reflect upon their attitudes towards sex and relationships, and to evaluate the advice, support and information they received in childhood and adolescence it is possible to capture both the diversity in experience and circumstances and to identify common experiences that may be of use in the improvement of service provision. The knowledge gathered is of local benefit as it identifies the strengths and weaknesses of services, highlights examples of good practice and offers insights from the experience of service-users.

Research report (external)

  • Vickerstaff, S., Macvarish, J., Taylor-Gooby, P., Loretto, W. and Harrison, T. (2012). Trust and Confidence in Pensions: A Literature Review. [Online]. Department for Work and Pensions. Available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/WP108.pdf.
    This working paper presents the findings of a literature review, originally commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in spring 2009, to look at existing research and analysis on trust and confidence, with special reference to pensions. Its main aim was to provide a greater understanding of the concepts of trust and confidence generally, but especially in relation to pensions. In so doing, the review aimed to cover the relationship between trust and confidence and individuals’ attitudes and behaviour around pensions and retirement planning, and issues around measuring trust and confidence in pensions.
    The review aimed to explore in depth the prevalence and nature of trust and confidence, including exploring issues such as:
    • definitions and categories of trust and confidence;
    • what engenders and influences trust and confidence;
    • the nature of the relationship between trust, and attitudes and behaviour towards pensions.
    The review also aimed to explore existing measures of trust and confidence in pensions and to highlight issues that might potentially have some bearing on policies over pensions information and communications, and future research and analysis in this field.

Review

  • Macvarish, J. (2011). Review: Teenage pregnancy: the making and unmaking of a problem. Critical Social Policy [Online] 31:151-151. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261018310385443.
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